How to keep staff motivated in difficult times

How to keep staff motivated in difficult times

With many businesses facing financial instability, the best way to approach employee rewards is on a little and often basis. Rewarding and recognising

With many businesses facing financial instability, the best way to approach employee rewards is on a little and often basis. Rewarding and recognising your workforce is a crucial tool to ensure your workforce feel valued. We caught up with Chris Ford, Senior Director, Blackhawk Network to get his view.

Offering incentives and rewards to show staff they’re valued

Small gestures can make a big impact, so it’s worth knowing that if you keep the value of a reward under £50, a ‘Thank you’ like this is considered as a HMRC trivial benefit tax break. In this instance, the full amount is awarded to the recipient and there are no additional costs associated for the employer.

To qualify for the HMRC trivial benefit tax break, the reward cannot take the form of cash or a cash voucher, so digital gift cards or e-codes are a simple solution, especially if they offer a choice of where and what to spend the value on. You will also need to be aware that the reward being given mustn’t form part of a performance review. This makes them most suited to on the spot recognition for a job well done or as a ‘Thank you’ for continued dedication and hard work.

When recognising, consider the wide range of needs within your workforce and the pressures that Covid-19 is putting on their circumstances. Our recent generation trends whitepaper revealed that board games, often thought of as a pastime of an older age group appeared in the top 15 hobbies for Gen Z and Millennials; but did not enter in the top 15 list for Gen X and Baby Boomers.

For one colleague, a gift card could be best used on outdoor games to entertain the family. For another, being able to buy new workout gear to stay active could be the priority. So, remember not to second guess what people may want. Allow the recipient to choose what they want rather than trying to assume what they desire. It’s the most effective way to ensure that your gestures have maximum impact, even across a diverse workforce.

Building team spirit virtually

The hustle and bustle of a call centre environment is optimal for boosting morale and keeping spirits high. With many teams now working from home, or with limited office capacity and social distancing, employers will find themselves needing to get creative with approaches to this challenge.

A recent study from LinkedIn showed that employee burnout doubled from March to April 2020, increasing from 2.7% to 5.4%. This staggering figure is representative of the struggle for employees to balance work and life during these difficult times.

Set up and encourage additional contact and virtual face-to-face calls for your team members. Whether it’s a morning check-in, virtual coffee catch-up or lunch break to connect your personnel. These calls don’t have to be work-related, it’s just as important to communicate with your team about their emotional and mental wellbeing as it is to tackle and discuss workflow tasks. Why not encourage team members to participate in online treasure hunts or quizzes where success drives a relevant reward as an individual or in teams?

Creating a positive environment despite a change in working conditions 

According to a Willis Towers Watson study, two-fifths (42%) of companies have already made changes or have plans to change their employee benefit programmes as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Insights like these are indicative of the shift in focus for businesses, to retain and support personnel during and as we move out of the lockdown phase. If you haven’t already started to review and adapt working conditions, now is the time.

This doesn’t need to mean big investments in tools or programmes.  It can be as simple as sharing curated content on ways to boost productivity while working from home, mental health awareness videos, or even resources to help entertain children in the house. Think outside of the box when it comes to creating a positive working environment.