'Tis the season to treat your staff with a great festive trip
Staff incentives and rewards can be something small, like a gift card, or something much, much bigger. If you’re looking for a big end-of-year blowout celebration, have a small team, or are looking to thank a few high-performing employees for their efforts throughout the year, then an event or trip can be an amazing – and unforgettable – way to reward your staff.
Not only are these events a whole lot of fun, they also provide great opportunities for teambuilding – particularly across different departments that may not usually get the chance to work or socialise together. Staff will come away with a set of happy memories, some new friends, and plenty of appreciation for the employer who put everything together. Once the Monday morning reminiscing dies down, employees will be feeling positive and motivated.
Events and trips can work all year round, but we’ve put together a few suggestions for festive trips that will bring the year to a fantastic end. And if you’ve missed the boat on 2016, it’s never too early to start planning for next year, either!
You won’t have to look very far to find lists of the best Christmas markets in the UK, so we won’t reinvent the wheel here – and anyway, us Brits have fallen in love with German-style markets to the point that just about every city has to offer something special.
Whether you head to your nearest, visit the UK’s largest in Birmingham, or take a tour around London’s many markets, the mixture of lavish food, hot drinks and sweet treats is a guaranteed winning combination with something for everyone.
Provide travel and some spending money, let your team loose among the stalls, and watch as they get to know each other, stock up on Secret Santa gifts, and get nice and merry. Many markets also offer spaces to rent for a festive meal or some more private drinks out of the cold.
Cocktail making classes are popular nights out at the moment, and they work well for both festive and teambuilding purposes. It’s a little bit creative, it’s a little bit competitive (who can design the best drinks? Who can spin their shakers without dropping them?), and it provides plenty of opportunities for fun and festivity.
A lot of these courses can be arranged at the office, but where’s the fun in that – why not combine one with a weekend city break, or an evening event with food and an overnight hotel stay? These events make great teambuilding exercises, without ever having to utter the word “team-building” – something dreaded by many. It’s the kind of thing people will love to get involved in.
Festive treasure hunts
Festive celebrations by no means need to be of the boozy variety. There are plenty far healthier options that will get your staff active, and get them working together.
With the Crystal Maze back on TV in 2016, people are nostalgic and ready for strangely specific timed challenges, and they don’t need a lot of planning to put together. Some companies offer interactive iPad apps with GPS tracking, and challenges can be themed around negotiating, navigating, or drinking – if you’d rather reward your team with a few glasses of wine after all.
These events are the perfect way to transition into a year of ensuring your employees are healthier and more active – an ideal New Years’ resolution – and they provide plenty of fun too.
New Years’ celebrations
New Years’ Eve can be the biggest party of the year, or it can be wildly disappointing – so make sure your employees have a good one by providing the best possible time on December 31st with a trip to a big city-wide celebration.
There are plenty of options around the UK, and particularly in London, but nowhere does New Years’ like Hogmany in Edinburgh, turning one night into three days of revelling. For an amazing end-of-year reward, why not set up your best-performing sales staff with a place to stay, some spending money in the form of vouchers, and a license to blow off all the steam they’ve built up by working hard all year?
They may feel awful on January 1st, but by the time they’re back in work they’ll be raring to go and highly motivated to dive back in – especially if it means going again at the end of the year!
Pay it forward
The end-of-year reward doesn’t necessarily have to be the trip – it could just be the tickets. Not everyone will have the time to go away before Christmas, and the office may be experiencing a December rush too. Planning for something in the new year gives everyone more time – and something to look forward to.
It could be something small, like a UK city break, or something huge, like a once-in-a-lifetime safari adventure – the only limit is budget and imagination (and if you have any concerns about either, we’re here to help). Planning ahead like this also provides the advantage of letting you select a time that will have the least impact on business activity.
Focus on staff
Whatever you choose, make sure the focus remains on your employees. The temptation may be to really oversell how generous the company is being by providing this break, and using it to really hammer home some business values. Too much of a corporate slant will put people off, and anything more than a light touch with teambuilding exercises will make it feel too much like work.
It’s also important to explain why these rewards are happening, by ensuring that you actually say thank you to your staff for their efforts through the year – yes, the trip itself is a thank you, but hearing it said in person from a manager as well can make all the difference to engagement.