Argos for Business Weighs Up Staff Incentives and Rewards at Christmas
The festive season is the perfect opportunity for an employer to show appreciation to their employees, thank them for a job well done and keep them focused and motivated as they head into the New Year – a notoriously difficult time when many unmotivated employees begin the search for new jobs.
However, our research of over 7,000 people from across Britain’s workforce, which looked into the Christmas rewards they receive, revealed that sadly over two fifths of employees receive no gift at all from their boss at Christmas.
Of those who do not receive a gift, regionally it is employees in the South East who fare the worst, with 20.5 percent reportedly never receiving a yuletide reward for their hard work, followed by 16.7 percent in the Midlands, 14.3 percent in the North West, and 11.4 percent in the North East.
Given the choice, over a third of respondents (39.5 percent) would prefer to receive retail vouchers from their employer at Christmas rather than an extra day’s holiday, which was favoured by 31.7 percent of those questioned.
Interestingly, retail vouchers were also the number one gift of choice of employers, with 41 percent of decision makers saying that they prefer to give these in place of other Christmas rewards.
However, with so many forms of reward and recognition available, choosing the best approach to suit the needs of the individual employee, as well as the aims of the business can be a difficult task.
Some employers prefer to offer a tangible gift, but it can be difficult to pick a gift to suit different people and their individual lifestyles. What may suit a young and single employee may not suit one with a family at home.
Some employers settle for the ‘safe’ option of a Christmas hamper, however the employer must consider whether or not this is something that will be of real value to their staff.
A hamper only gained 15.3 percent of votes in the Argos for Business’ Christmas survey, so employers should question if such a gift will work as an effective form of motivation, and whether this will help to enhance staff engagement.
The Christmas bonus has traditionally been a popular reward, however when the funds are placed directly into an employee’s bank account, these can often get absorbed into everyday expenditure, such as household bills or other necessities, meaning that the impact of this money as an incentive can be lost; especially where the funds could have been spent on a more desirable item.
As a leading provider of gift cards, incentives and motivation solutions, we were not at all surprised by the survey findings and believe the popularity of gift vouchers can be afforded to the choice, convenience and flexibility that they offer for both the employee and the employer.
These results demonstrate the importance of choice and flexibility when it comes to making staff feel truly rewarded at Christmas.
While the economic climate of the past few years has seen some employers cutting back on costs, it is important to bear in mind that an engaged and driven workforce is more efficient, not only creating a more positive working environment for the individual, but also helping to produce better results for the company as a whole.
For a member of staff, a reward of gift cards or vouchers can be a great motivational tool, whether they’re looking to treat a loved one, pick up some toys for the little ones during the festive season, or treat themselves, the choice is left to the individual, meaning that they can cherry-pick a gift to suit their needs.
Ultimately, recognising staff needs and aspirations and being able to balance this with the aims of the business is key to making the most out of any incentive scheme.
At Argos for Business, we offer our staff a range of benefits throughout the year designed to boost morale and strengthen staff relations.
These include performance bonuses, discounts on Argos and Homebase products and a contribution to a staff Christmas party to ensure that everybody feels rewarded. We also hold seasonal inter-department competitions and teambuilding exercises to bring employees together and encourage interaction.
By Danny Clenaghan, Managing Director at Argos for Business
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”