Costly work Christmas parties are no longer the priority this winter. As the cost-of-living crisis continues and the UK heads into a recession, employees across industries are more financially conscious than they’ve possibly ever been before.

Research from Blackhawk Network reveals that 97% of consumers across the EMEA region are concerned by cost-of-living pressures, with half (50%) citing fuel and utilities cost specifically. Couple this with the fact that employees are budgeting for the festive period, it’s likely staff will be feeling the pinch more than usual.

In fact, 75% of adults are not planning a “big celebration” for Christmas and 70% are cutting back on last year.

Boosting staff morale and engagement

At a time when employee stress levels are high, it is crucial to ensure they feel supported, acknowledged and valued.  However, with the cost-of-living crises also taking its toll on businesses, offering simple fixes such as pay rises is not always viable.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing they can do to help. Employers can support staff, boost morale and make sure they feel recognised through the reward and incentives strategies they offer cost-effectively. Ensuring that these rewards are also geared up for helping employees to manage their finances and make their pay go further will be key.

Giving the gift of choice

This year employees want their rewards to be meaningful. 60% of employees said that their companies were bad gifters, which is a worrying statistic when emerging talent is three times as likely to consider leaving a company if they don’t receive holiday gifts during the festive season.

What’s more, hosting a Christmas party to show appreciation to staff isn’t going to cut the mustard this year as only 10% of employees want one. The reality is employees want to receive gifts that will give them the freedom to choose what they want. In fact, 63% would want a gift card, Visa or Mastercard.

Rewarding staff in ways that align with their needs, particularly during times of financial stress, helps to boost their happiness and motivates them to feel engaged – something that is especially important in an age where the war for talent is at an all-time high.

As 81% of employees stated, rewards encourage them to work harder. In addition, according to 86% of employees, rewards such as gift cards make them feel valued.

Reward right this Christmas and employers will leave staff feeling positive, motivated and supported as they head into the festive period and beyond.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.