Research by leading staff incentives and reward provider, Virgin Incentives, reveals that half (49%) of British workers would be open to receiving a reward in January instead of Christmas, with one in five (21%) answering ‘yes, definitely’.
The survey of over 2,000 workers found that a January reward is most popular among young employees (16-24 year olds), two thirds (62%) of whom would be happy to receive one instead of the traditional Christmas reward. This figure is almost halved among 55+ year old employees to just 34%.
Similar regional differences exist, with employees based in Greater London most likely to embrace the idea of a January reward (61%) compared with those in the North East (38%) and Scotland (39%).
Lifting spirits as staff return to work was key to the popularity of January rewards, with more than three quarters (78%) citing this as the main reason they’d support the idea. Meanwhile, two in five employees (38%) believe it would help combat the post-Christmas blues and over a quarter (28%) would value a January reward because it would ‘improve their mental health’, particularly for 25-34 year olds and 16-24 year olds (35% and 29% respectively).
The study also looked at the types of staff rewards received. A fifth (21%) admitted never having received a reward from an employer, and a further fifth (21%) have received bad ones. Among the reasons for bad rewards, over one in ten Brits (11%) claimed the reward was ‘sexual’ in some way, a further one in ten (10%) accuse employers of gender stereotyping or giving political rewards (9%). However, most commonly respondents considered rewards bad if they were ‘too cheap’ (40%).
On the other hand, the rewards that made staff feel most valued were financial bonuses (82%), followed by extra vacation days after a period of service (78%) and the option for employees to choose their own rewards (71%).
Commenting on the research, Virgin Incentives’s Chief Customer Officer Danni Rush says:
“Many businesses operate in highly competitive markets where innovative and exciting staff rewards can help to attract and retain top talent.
“Our research reveals that January rewards are emerging as a new and increasingly popular alternative to the traditional Christmas reward, and employers are beginning to recognise it as a potential opportunity to distinguish their business and create more memorable moments with staff.
“Some employees are less comfortable with breaking from tradition however, and so it’s important that employers considering January rewards factor in the average age of their employees, the size and location of the business as well as their sector.
“For those businesses who do choose January, they could benefit from greater variety and better priced options alleviating budgets to create more spectacular rewards, while also helping to support staff mental health in a more meaningful way.”