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3 Tips to Make Holiday Rewards Easy

Paul Sherman | October 14, 2016

The end of the year is a busy time for companies both large and small. While everybody is focusing on meeting year-end sales goals and wrapping up finances for the fiscal year, it can be tough to find enough time to think about a holiday reward program for employees or customers.

Holiday rewards for employees are a great way to improve morale and show appreciation for the work they have done in the past year. Customer holiday gifts can be used to increase sales or improve customer loyalty by creating a connection between your brand and the holiday season.

Here are three simple tips that will help make planning holiday rewards a piece of cake (or pie!):

Plan Ahead

Be proactive about planning your corporate holiday rewards by starting as early as possible. If you wait until late November you’re only going to add more stress to an already stressful time of year.

Some products commonly given as holiday rewards – like edible items or merchandise – require long lead times, especially if you want to add your logo or other customization, so planning ahead is a necessity. Other reward solutions like gift certificates and gift cards require shorter lead times, so how early you need to start may depend on what type of reward you choose. But starting early ensures that no matter what type of reward you select, you’ll have enough time to complete your order and get those gifts in everyone’s hands in time for you to relax and enjoy the season.

Planning ahead will also allow you plenty of time to define a budget and find a product that fits within it. The budget is often the most important piece of any holiday rewards program, so it can take some careful planning and consideration to find the most ideal reward that also fits your budget. Make sure the majority of your budget is going toward the reward itself and is not being used on shipping and handling, fees or merchandise mark-ups.

Be Prepared

It’s very important to be well-prepared and organized for the holiday season. There can be a lot more to holiday rewards than one may think, so it helps to not only plan ahead but to also be prepared for any issues that may arise.

Depending on the rewards you choose, you may need to dedicate some staff hours to unpack and distribute them. This is likely a step you have already thought about when it comes to customer rewards, but it’s also important to consider when ordering holiday rewards for employees. If you don’t want to spend staff hours on this, seek out rewards that don’t require unpacking or hand-delivering. Many companies will ship the gifts for you. Another great option is digital gifts which are easy for everyone to give and receive and keep costs low. Digital gifts are also easily personalized with your brand and message.

It may also be important to consider how you will handle returns of unsatisfactory items. Depending on the type of reward you have chosen, some employees or customers could receive a damaged or dysfunctional product that would need to be replaced. Be sure you know how to handle a situation like that just in case it arises. Keep in mind that some companies also provide customer service to handle these situations for you. Ask your potential vendor about their ability to provide customer support for you and your recipients. Also find out what their reship/return policy is so everyone has a great experience with your brand.

Find Help

Many large companies have committees in charge of making decisions about employee holiday rewards, and that’s for good reason; there’s strength in numbers. If your company doesn’t have a committee yet and you’re working on this alone, recruit a few coworkers to help with all of the planning.

Even if you are part of a committee it can be beneficial to seek out additional help in the form of an industry expert. There are many companies that specialize in customer or employee recognition rewards, and gifts that can help make this a holiday to remember.

Whether you’re working alone or in a committee, the toughest decision may be finding a reward that is guaranteed to satisfy everyone. Your customers or employees are made up from a diverse group of people with different likes and dislikes. This is where the help of an industry expert can come in handy.

If you’re starting to plan out your holiday rewards – whether for employees, customers or both – and need some help and ideas from an expert, take a look at GC’s 2016 Employee Holiday Gift Guide.