Three ways small business can recognise and reward staff all year round

As small-business owners without the luxury of bottomless “staff gifts” budgets, Christmas can feel rather overwhelming when it comes to organising gift lists. But on top of the usual busyness of the season, small businesses should equally understand the importance of taking time to reward teams and if they are to retain staff and build loyalty, then finding ways to demonstr ate recognition and appreciation is important.

But how can a small business say thank you in a meaningful way without the huge expense, such as the staff bonuses expected in a big corporate, or avoid disappointing staff with gifts that simply don’t surprise or delight? And why do many small-business owners only use Christmas as a time to recognise staff efforts?

As a small-business owner, it was a conundrum I had faced over the last few years; how could I incorporate staff recognition into my company and with the added challenge of an entirely remote team, posting gifts was costly. How could I, a small business, create a staff incentive scheme without the corporate budget? Here three ways I overcame this challenge, allowing me to build and retain motivated and loyal staff and contractors.

Flexible working

This doesn’t have to mean working remotely full time. Flexibility can be many things from starting later to do school drop offs, to one day from home, to changing shifts every fortnight or even job shares, or perhaps rescheduling breaks. Every employee comes with their own ‘life’ and the sooner you understand it and consider ways you can help them manage their life commitments around work, the sooner you will see more motivated staff. Often it is the smallest adjustment that can make the biggest difference to them. Communication is key though.


This one stumped me for some time until I discovered a software platform, Perkbox, that allows employers to engage better with their teams and enhance their financial, physical and mental wellbeing at work and beyond through cost-effective, thoughtful ways of rewarding and recognising their staff with all year round benefits.

Training and Professional Development

This is something I was always mindful of – how could I ensure I keep my workforce trained and eager to learn to ensure not only my business benefits, but they as individuals feel considered and invested in. Again, budgets and the needs of the business will likely not stretch to time off for full-time study, however with so many short courses, one day workshops and online options available, it is well worth keeping an eye out for such opportunities to upskill your team. And ask them what they would like to learn! Is there something one team member does which they would like to learn too? It will benefit you by building the flexibility amongst your team.

The bottom line is, losing true talent hurts, and recruitment costs a bomb and therefore it is important to ensure everyone feels valued and appreciated at all times. Being a small business is no excuse.

Creating a happier, more productive company culture should be the topmost priority for all business owners and being able to achieve that at all times, not merely at Christmas, can set a business apart and make them a more attractive prospect for job seekers.

Susie Campbell, Owner, Hullabaloo PR

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