Christmas rewards | 5 MIN READ TIME

What UK workers really want from their employer this Christmas


For the second Christmas in a row employers and employees are sharing the pain of the rising cost of living.

Can festive bonuses or gifts make a real difference – and are they cost effective?

Inflation and energy prices may have come down from the scary peaks of early 2023, but they remain stubbornly high. So how can employers reward staff when budgets are tight – and what to their workforce really want to help them through?

As individuals we’re worrying about whether we can afford to put the heating on, cutting our food budget to feed our families and questioning whether we can afford fuel to get to work.

Businesses are also feeling the squeeze. The cost of energy and raw materials rose sharply earlier this year – it may now be rising more slowly, but it’s still high. Employers have to consider whether to absorb those costs or pass them on to customers.

All of which could make rewarding employees this Christmas for their hard work and commitment throughout the year difficult. Indeed, some employers will be tempted to view it as an unjustifiable expense or an easy saving.

Cut gifts now, repent at leisure

New research shows that taking such a short-term view is a false economy that will create more further down the line with motivation, productivity and employee retention all negatively impacted.

The team at Love2shop are experts in this field. For decades the have worked closely with more than 150,000 employers from across multiple sectors to create simple, effective rewards strategies that increase employee value, reduce staff turnover and support positive, motivated working environments.

Love2shop has just published its second Employee Value Report and it makes stark reading for any employer considering scrapping rewards for staff this Christmas.

It revealed 5.5m UK workers feel undervalued in their jobs, with 80% of them actively looking for a new role.

However, the UK-wide survey also found 87% of people say a spontaneous gift from their employer would give them a feeling of recognition. And 90% said being surprised with a multi-retailer gift card would make them feel valued.

Ease the festive financial pressure

Digging deeper into the statistics, extra days off, multi-retailer gift cards or flexible working were the top rewards favoured by 57% of respondents.

And a gift card makes a real difference when it comes to making ends meet. The Employee Value Report found 34% of people would spend a multi-retailer gift card from their employer on the weekly shop – the same number as would spend it on a meal out.

It also discovered 12% of UK workers would spend a gift card on school essentials for their children.

That’s is a clear indication of the financial pressure we are all dealing with. The most meaningful gift employers can give this Christmas is something that practically helps your colleagues to simply get by.

Love2shop is one of the best known gifting brands in the UK. Offering gift cards, contactless gift cards, e-gift cards and vouchers, Love2shop products are accepted by more than 150 retailers including Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Matalan, Argos, Costa, Harvester, Tui, Jet2Holidays and many more.

Make your list, check it twice

It’s not too late to deliver a special gift for Christmas 2023.

With Love2shop, bulk orders for gift cards can be delivered in time for Christmas if ordered by Friday, 15th December. Digital products like Love2shop Contactless Gift Cards and Love2shop e-Gift Cards can be sent straight to their inbox and can be set to arrive anytime, even on Christmas Day!

It’s also worth remembering that gifts up to the value of £50 do not need to be declared to HMRC and are not subject to tax or National Insurance under the Trivial Benefits provision, which means no additional paperwork or costs to your business.

Use Love2shop’s Tax-Free Gift Calculator to instantly see how much you could save on Christmas gifts compared to giving through payroll here.

Gifts that keep on giving

With workers more likely to spend any extra money on just getting by, can employers support their teams all year round?

They can with Love2shop’s Everyday Benefits Card. This allows cardholders to preload funds to access savings on their purchases. An average family could save more than £1,300 each year.

When you load funds onto your Everyday Benefits Card however much you load on is discounted by 7.5% – so every £100 loaded on only costs you £92.50. Employees can top up their funds all year, receiving the same discount each time.

This can help them save all year round on essential purchases including their weekly shop, clothing and more.

If you haven’t set your Christmas staff gifts in stone yet, now is the time to think carefully about what you offer. If you’re still not sure feel free to contact our team here. They can help you find the right gifts for your employees right up until Friday, 22nd December.