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Thoughtful Holiday Rewards Can Help Employees During a Recession

  • author

    Heather Munro

  • posted

    Sep 15, 2022

  • topic

    Employee Rewards

Thoughtful Holiday Rewards Can Help Employees During a Recession

As inflation continues to increase, several recent economic forecasts are predicting a mild recession on the horizon. Retaining your best employees can be challenging during economic downturns like these.

Keeping morale high is critical, especially if you can’t afford to hand out end-of-year bonuses or are asking employees to do more after laying off staff.

Tweaking your employee rewards program to include thoughtful holiday rewards shows your employees that you appreciate them during tough economic times.

Here are our recommendations for the best holiday rewards to offer during a recession.

1. Groceries and Everyday Needs

Shopping for the essentials costs more these days. In July, the index tracking grocery prices showed a 12.2% spike over the last year, making it the largest 12-month increase since April 1979.

Help your employees offset the cost of food and household sundries with digital e-gift cards to:

  • Grocery stores such as Giant Eagle, Kroger, or Safeway
  • Big-box retailers like Target or Walmart
  • Pet food suppliers like Petco or PetSmart

2. Stress Relievers

According to a Gallup survey, two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job. Encourage your employees to take time for themselves and recharge their batteries with holiday rewards like:

  • Retail therapy at a luxury department store such as Nordstrom or a wardrobe subscription service like Stitch Fix
  • Pampering with massages or facials with a Spafinder vendor, or at-home treatments from Sephora or Ulta
  • Accommodations with Airbnb or Hotels.com for a well-deserved weekend away

3. Highly Perceived Value Gifts

A prepaid Visa or Mastercard is an ideal choice for your holiday rewards program. Not only do they stand out more than cash direct-deposited into an employee’s account, they can be used to purchase whatever your employee wants.

It’s also worth noting that a study by Blackhawk Network showed that most recipients prefer prepaid cards of any value to all other possible reward options.

4. Gifts That Give Back

During the holiday season, there’s a lot of emphasis on helping others. But during a recession, making a donation might not be in your employees’ budgets.

An e-donation to a worthwhile organization enables your employees to feel good by doing good — and even get a tax credit if they use their e-donation reward by the end of the year.

Here are some charitable donation themes to consider:

  • Helping the Environment: Clean Water Fund, National Park Foundation,
  • Supporting Health Research: American Cancer Society, Johns Hopkins Research
  • Giving Back to Your Community: Habitat for Humanity, World Food Program USA

5. Dinner Helpers

Preparing meals on a budget can get tiresome. Everyone deserves a night off from menu planning. Treat your employees to a minimal-effort dinner with these holiday rewards:

  • Dinner out at Legal Seafoods or Texas Roadhouse
  • Convenient dinner delivery from Grubhub or DoorDash
  • Meal prep kits from Hello Fresh or Home Chef

One final note: During a recession or not, it’s always a good idea to offer your employees a choice of rewards. That goes double for holiday rewards. Letting them choose how they’d like to be rewarded ensures you’re showing gratitude for their great work instead of offering a token thank-you gift.

Want to learn more about keeping remote employees engaged with digital rewards? Read our case study here

about the author
Heather Munro

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.