What the modern workforce wants this holiday season

The values and considerations of employees and what they would like from employers is changing. Where once the Christmas party and end-of-year bonuses ruled the roost in terms of providing the ultimate holiday reward, now, employees want more heartfelt gestures that are for the greater good. We caught up with Rob Marsh, Community Innovation Lead at Reward Gateway to get his views on what’s changing.


“To tap into the needs of the modern workforce, businesses need to revisit the way in which they appeal to their employees through rewards and recognition offerings. According to our report with award-winning employee engagement author, Josh Bersin, employee engagement needs to be viewed as a strategy not a program.  Employees need to feel a sense of belonging to the company and share similar values – and as a result they provide increased productivity and better service to customers.

This is why corporate social responsibility has become not only an important business objective but a cultural driver for keeping employees engaged and retained. If the modern workforce doesn’t feel aligned with company values or feel their company is making a difference to society, they have no problem walking away from the role. In fact, according to a study by Cone Communications, 64% of millennials won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong CSR practices.


Through reward and recognition platforms, companies are able to provide a diverse range of ways in which employees can feel rewarded – and pay it forward to other employees or even those that need a helping hand. For example, with Beam, a crowdfunding platform that supports the homeless into employment, the modern workforce and their employers can financially support someone back into the workplace. Employees can fund specific campaigns, raise money through activities or buy gift cardsthat are donations to specific campaigns.


Empowering employees to create real Social Value


Social Value in the workplace can take on many forms, particularly around the holiday season where giving and helping others is heightened. According to the Mental Health Foundation, helping others can promote physiological changes in the brain linked to happiness, improve self-esteem and reduce isolation through volunteering.


Whilst volunteering time certainly has its merits, if used in isolation it can exclude some employees purely because it requires time away from day to day work and other commitments. Volunteering for the sake of it can also be counterproductive – forcing the leadership team to paint an office or fence may not only feel a little dated, it also isn’t always the best use of their time or the charity’s.


As an alternative, there are a variety of ways in which businesses can provide employees with opportunities to give back during the holidays that do not require time out of the office.  Companies can consider creating partnerships with charities to offer in-demand skills, provide services or solutions for free, donate office space, and of course, the festive favourite –  make a cash donation to support a charity related to your Mission. At Reward Gateway, we established partnerships through the Reward Gateway Foundation and found this to be a perfect, Mission-fit for our employees.


Once a rewards and recognition strategy is established, businesses can quickly work with simple-to-use platforms that help provide visibility and disseminate rewards that are tied to employee engagement and CSR strategies, quickly and easily. Employees are able to choose if they would like to keep a reward, nominate a colleague who they feel deserves the reward, donate their reward to a charity or even contribute in other ways to a charity – all of which promote a happier modern workforce, and a better world for all of us.”

Want to be a part of our research by answering some easy questions?