Rewarding and reconnecting with employees as the UK workplace returns to ‘business as usual’

By James Malia of Prezzee


With COVID-19 restrictions and the work from home guidance being relaxed across the UK, many businesses are now looking for ways to re-engage with their employees and rebuild a workplace culture lost to Zoom.

2021: The year of the ‘Great Resignation’

The 2021 UK Labour Force Survey (LFS), released by the Office for National Statistics, reported almost one million people left their jobs during the Summer – the highest number of job-to-job moves in 20 years. But whilst it might be all too easy to think everyone suddenly re-evaluated their lifestyles in light of the pandemic, data from the survey showed a high proportion of people transferring their skills and moving to jobs in the same industry, suggesting that workers are simply seeking higher wages, flexible working terms, or more attractive benefits packages.

Creating a great place to work

By now, we’ve all seen the buzz about a 4-day week and flexible holiday schemes, but there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution for attracting and retaining talent, and what works for one company may not be a viable option for another. We can be great employers not by trying to reinvent the wheel, or jumping on the bandwagon of current trends, but simply just by starting conversations with our employees – through surveys, focus groups, or even just at the coffee machine – and understanding where there are opportunities to enhance the employee experience. Of course, there are always going to be responses that are hard to swallow, but just giving people a voice is a massive step in making people feel appreciated and recognised.

As businesses across the UK welcome employees back to the workplace, there’s never been a better opportunity to re-focus on reward and recognition. For some, this could be their first time in your work space, having only met colleagues via Zoom or Teams. It may even be their first job, and your business is their first experience of a company’s culture. So whether they work from home, the office, or both, there are always ways to celebrate your people…

1. Have a ‘welcome back’ brew: We’re regularly asked for ‘coffee break’ cards; a Prezzee Smart eGift Card that can be used exclusively at Caffe Nero, Costa, Starbucks, et al. It’s such a simple gesture, but it’s amazing how many people still don’t take a bit of time out during the working day. Encourage time away from the desk (and discourage burn out!) with a card your employees can enjoy at their local coffee shop – and why not clear some time in your day to join them for a proper face-to-face chin wag?

2. Hold a wellbeing day: A great way to ‘check in’ with your teams, welcome people back, and even encourage them to come to the office on specific days… remind your employees of their benefits, along with any EAPs you run, and how you can support the transition back into the workplace. Connect with local businesses, such as gyms, who often run discounted corporate offers (especially at this time of year!). A gift card for a spa day, or a HelloFresh subscription, for all employees who come along is a great incentive to encourage attendance.

3. Just say “thank you”: Everybody enjoys a bit of recognition for their work efforts and contribution, and as employers we have to ask ourselves if we give enough of it? Celebrate your people and their successes with a gift card they can spend anywhere they like – just a small, simple gesture can go far, and a little surprise text or email notification can really brighten up someone’s day. With the Prezzee Business dashboard, you can say thank you to employees in just a few clicks, with personalised eRewards uniquely branded for your organisation. And with National Employee Appreciation Day just around the corner (Friday 4th March), it’s the perfect opportunity to map out your long-term R&R strategy.

4. Incentivise employee survey participation: Encouraging your teams to complete engagement surveys can often be a bit of an uphill struggle – but the pay off, and insight you’ll get back, can be invaluable. At Prezzee, we reward employees who take part in our happiness surveys with an eGift Card to say thanks for sharing their feedback and for taking time out of their day to do so. Next time you launch your employee survey, why not offer a prize to the first 50 employees who take part? Be sure to share your incentives on your intranet portal, in order to connect with your work from home/hybrid employees.

Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of opportunities to give something back. Having happy, motivated people is priceless and will ensure the success of your teams and business for the future. We’re all still adjusting to new ways of working, but 2022 is going to be so crucial to how we drive employee experience through our culture and values. It’s an exciting time to review and re-energise your reward and recognition programme!


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