Employers’ Guide to Giving Impactful Workforce Holiday Perks

The holidays are a time of giving–and a great opportunity for employers to boost engagement by spreading a little cheer. As companies wrap up the fourth quarter, employee productivity tends to take a nosedive.

With the holidays quickly arriving, many employees have a lot on their plate. For some, the anticipation of festive traditions and upcoming time off for the holidays is all they can think about. And still, for many others, feelings of doubt, stress, and financial anxiety loom behind their brave faces and seemingly cheerful smiles.

Feelings of social isolation, depression, loneliness, and anxiety are more common during the holidays than at any other time of year. These feelings peak when we’re reminded of happier times. Since the holidays tend to bring people together, it can also be a reminder of difficult things like the burden of financial stress.

Employers can help alleviate some of these stressors with well-matched holiday perks. But first, we need to understand what really drives motivation and makes a difference.

Understanding What Drives Engagement

According to insights provided by Gartner, there is a five-tier approach to providing a value-driven employment proposition. Gartner’s model breaks down what really motivates employees so that employers can better understand how holiday perks align with individual motivation to drive engagement.

Here is what your employees need most during the holiday season:

  1. Deeper Connections
  2. Flexibility
  3. Shared Purpose
  4. Personal Growth
  5. Holistic Well-Being

Gartner’s research shows that employers who make any amount of progress in these areas see a noticeable difference in their workforce retention, engagement, and productivity. For example, 28% of employees who feel a deeper connection with their employer are more likely to recommend their employers as a service provider or an employer when their friends or family seek advice. Additionally, companies see an average of an 18% increase in the productivity of high-performers who are offered flexibility.

Translating Key Engagement Drivers to Holiday Incentives

Now that you have an idea of what matters let’s look at how you can design holiday perks that fill these needs.

Foster Gratitude to Build Deeper Connections

One meaningful way employers can build deeper connections with their workforce and, in turn, increase the likelihood that their employees are invested in their success is to ensure that communication is a two-way street. According to a survey conducted by Salesforce, employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to deliver their best work.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Take time to intentionally collect feedback from employees on what’s working (and what’s not) in the workplace. Take a positive approach and openly consider what steps the company can take to address employees concerns. Then, follow through and make sure that your employees feel heard and see change.

Find New Ways to Offer Flexibility that Boosts Productivity

Flexibility is more than letting workers clock in from home or choose their shifts. In fact, many employers are turning to reloadable pay cards to add flexibility to their payroll or make their incentive programs more relevant to their cash-strapped workers.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Offer a holiday bonus paid out via modern fintech, given to employees when they need it most. Consider planning disbursements around significant holiday shopping dates rather than traditional calendar-based holidays or end-of-year achievements. This way, employees who might otherwise feel burdened by the expense of holiday gift-giving have another way to pay.

Cultivate a Shared Purpose to Increase Employee Loyalty and Curb Attrition

Engagement and loyalty go hand-in-hand. One Gallup survey of more than 1.4 million employees found that high-turnover organizations, like those in the restaurant and retail industries, experience 25% lower turnover when engagement is high. In low-turnover industries, that number jumps to 65%.

Cultivating engagement is easier when you can find a shared purpose to bond over.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Use the generosity of giving hearts during the holiday season to commit to a shared volunteer project with your team. These shared purposes can be effectively managed across organizations of all sizes. Take, for example, when restaurants or retail stores ask customers to round up for charity. Bring your team in on the action by tying in opportunities to volunteer or incentivizing donations by awarding perks to the teams, shifts, or individuals with the most donations. If you’re looking for ways to incentivize participation, consider tying in a paid time off (PTO) element to encourage more volunteer hours.

While the direct link to your bottom line might not be obvious, the teamwork and commitment inspired by the shared purpose are priceless when building employee loyalty.

Rethink Growth Perks to Keep Job Hunting Off Your Employees’ New Years Resolutions List

Employees need more than a paycheck. They need to feel like the work they do matters and that is helping them progress toward a specific goal. A survey conducted by Glassdoor found that 4 out of 5 employees want perks beyond pay raises. Providing perks that meet growth needs while simultaneously upskilling your internal talent pool is a win for both employees and employers.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Offer a holiday-themed “lunch and learn” or workshop where employees can take time to learn something new while enjoying themed treats like cookies and cocoa. If it’s impossible to coordinate a lunch for an entire shift or a larger organization, consider offering a series of synchronous and asynchronous activities like access to books, podcasts, or community workshops. And consider bigger perks in the new year that can have an even bigger downstream impact, like professional development stipends.

Take a Holistic Approach to Employee Well-Being to Reduce Stress, Burnout, and Low Attendance

The upcoming new year sees a big push in health and fitness-related resolutions. Help your employees meet their wellness goals with perks designed to be helpful and delivered at the right time.

Here’s how to make it happen:

With modern fintech, employers can easily set up and administer wellness stipend programs, applying granular spending controls to ensure money is spent as intended. Consider fitness reimbursement perks as a starting place or a proactive wellness stipend with spending controls beyond just gyms and fitness centers. Allocating funds dedicated to investments in personal wellness provides more encouragement and flexibility, resulting in higher participation numbers.

Provide Relief Straight to the Pocket Book to Help Financially-Stressed Employees

The holiday season comes with a variety of different expenses that can put added strain on already tight budgets. Attending parties, hosting special dinners, buying gifts, decorating the home, traveling to see family, and taking extra time off all add up. Employers can help ease the financial burden of the holidays by offering flexible payment options like earned wage access.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Partner with a modern fintech company to provide earned wage access and other powerful zero-cost employee benefits. Juice Financial offers modern, flexible payment options that allow employers to provide earned wage access and other benefits that generally cost $1,000+ per employee annually.

Final Thoughts on Impactful Workforce Holiday Perks

The best thing that employers can do this holiday season is to take a moment to consider what perks will resonate with the needs of today’s workforce. More and more, these needs include flexibility and meaningful connection, focusing on holistic wellness and expanded benefits.

Discover Juice’s many solutions to help you enhance your employee experience and make a real difference for your employees this holiday season.

Free eBook: 14 Unique Perks to Engage Employees During High Inflation