No More Guesswork: Here’s What Your Employees Want for the Holidays


Share on LinkedIn

2020 has had its fair share of challenges. Many businesses like yours have had to pivot strategies, shift employee work arrangements and re-evaluate internal processes to adjust to the impacts of COVID-19. And you’re not done yet.

There’s extensive pressure on you this upcoming holiday season to make sure you’re keeping employees motivated and showing them appreciation. Approximately 50 percent of Americans are working from home right now, many for the first time, and about half of them are worried their employer might not send them a holiday gift. The pandemic has put stress on your workforce personally and professionally and acknowledging their efforts on your company’s behalf will go a long way in continuing to drive performance, loyalty and engagement through the remainder of the year and well into 2021.

You’re likely looking for opportunities to lighten the stress, pressure and expectations of your teams during the upcoming holidays. In lieu of more virtual meetings, holiday parties and happy hours, some of the most strategic businesses are giving the gift of time, and permission to step away, alongside a digital gift as the key focus for this year’s “new normal” holiday celebrations.

We partner with top companies to support a variety of employee reward and incentives efforts that take the guesswork out of holiday rewards. Via our website, we’re seeing an almost 30% increase in large prepaid and gift card orders as incentives used by employers to engage employees—replacing traditional events and annual activities no longer possible because of COVID. Our research found that this year, 82 percent of employees surveyed would like to receive a gift card from their employer as a holiday gift. Respondents reported wanting gift cards because they allow them to choose what they want, can be delivered physically or digitally and they can re-gift them.

Need further proof the prepaid and gift cards are a perfect go-to option? Consider the following research findings on how employees want to be recognized:

• Research we ran before the pandemic this year showed that surveyed workers overwhelmingly prefer a gift card or prepaid card (43%) over traditional gifts like merchandise (1%), food (3%), travel (8%) and even a day off (14%) when it comes to receiving gifts or rewards from an employer.

• More recently, we surveyed the workforce again in October and found that more virtual employees would rather have cash (31%) or a prepaid or gift card (20%) from their employer this year so they can treat themselves or buy something they need—as opposed to a virtual holiday party (11%).

• 40% of employees surveyed anticipate getting a holiday gift from their employer—and digital-friendly, contactless rewards are favored. Physical and digital gift cards can both be uploaded to mobile wallets, redeemed online and spent in-store for optimal flexibility.

• Gift cards are regarded by employees as a key motivators in addition to driving feelings of being valued and increasing loyalty2. Most people would be encouraged to work harder after receiving gift card rewards and feel that gift card rewards show that their employer values them.

Taking the opportunity to show meaningful appreciation to your employees during the holidays will help your business drive year-long benefits that directly contribute to your bottom line. Prepaid and gift cards have lasting impacts that benefit employers and employees alike. These cards are extremely versatile and give employees a chance to treat themselves to something they wouldn’t normally buy, or provide them with unexpected funds to buy something they need. Instead of guessing, and wasting time and money this holiday season, give your employees the rewards they want most.

Theresa McEndree
Theresa McEndree is the Global Head of Marketing & Corporate Brand for Blackhawk Network. In this role, Theresa oversees a multinational team focused on brand, product marketing and revenue generation. With more than 15 years of B2B marketing expertise, she is a sought-after thought leader with a thumb on the pulse of marketing, retail brand and shopper trends. Prior to Blackhawk, she held senior marketing positions at FreedomPay and Ecount, a Citi company.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here