Company Holiday Party or Employee Rewards? Here's How You Can Do Both

After two years of a worldwide pandemic, many companies are eager to bring their teams together to celebrate the holidays. Many look forward to feeling connected after so long apart and seeing team members they’ve never met in person. However, considering the current COVID-19 resurgence, some companies and employees may not feel comfortable with a holiday party this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the BA.5 variant is now the country’s most dominant strain of COVID-19. There are indications that both reinfections and hospitalizations are increasing.

The pandemic also changed the state of work. Many employees are now hybrid or remote and dispersed geographically. According to Gallup, the number of people working remotely at least part of their week has now doubled since before the pandemic. This can make bringing employees together for a holiday party difficult and expensive. With so many potential obstacles to in-person company holiday parties, how do you celebrate the year in a way that includes everyone?

Company Holiday Party vs. Employee Rewards

Despite the obstacles of bringing all your employees together, a company holiday party may still be the right option if you want to celebrate together. On the other hand, employee rewards may be the right option if you are planning a holiday party but are worried about employees getting left out or not feeling safe. Holiday employee rewards, such as holiday gift cards, can offer an affordable and flexible alternative that celebrates the individual rather than the team. They allow employees to celebrate the holidays and their achievements over the past year in a way that’s most meaningful to them.

The Tango Approach

Last year, we cancelled our company holiday party to keep our team safe. Our HR team took its holiday party budget, divided it per employee, and considered viable alternatives. They considered custom employee gifts with a $100 Reward Link, an extended holiday weekend, and a virtual holiday event. ​​In the end, they chose to let each employee select their own reward. Every employee received a $500 Reward Link that included an extensive range of gift cards and not-for-profit contribution options.

Our team members were grateful for the rewards and were able to use them on what they really wanted for the holidays. See how some employees used their Reward Links last year.

How did you spend your holiday Reward Link?

“I flew down to Tennessee to celebrate my friend Lance finishing up his Master's program. Since we couldn’t have the holiday party, we used the Reward Link to buy him a new Xbox, some pizza and soda, and relived our high school days playing Halo all night. Was a super fun replacement for the holiday party!”

Matt Taylor, Senior Software Engineer

How did you spend your holiday Reward Link?

“I bought books and frames to hang art prints I had gotten from various artists at conventions over the years and decorate my apartment. I also used some of it on groceries for hosting dinner on Christmas.”

—Kahla Moonlock, HR Coordinator

Read our Holiday Rewards Guide

Giving the Gift of Choice

Employees love having a choice. According to the National Retail Federation, gift cards have topped holiday wish lists for over ten years. Approximately 59% of consumers have gift cards on their wish lists every year. With a digital gift card option like Reward Link, employees have a choice of 100+ gift card choices to redeem their rewards. They can also choose whether to spend their Reward Links with one partner or with multiple partners.

"I love how easy it is to generate rewards for the exact amount needed during checkout for several brands. We generated one Reward Link in the electronics department for the exact amount needed, then again when purchasing sodas, monsters, etc during self checkout. We converted the rest to DoorDash credit and ordered great pizza from a local restaurant!"

—Matt Taylor, Senior Software Engineer

By offering the gift of choice, your employees can purchase what they really want and celebrate in a way that is meaningful for them. Those who cannot travel, are immunocompromised, or live too far away for a holiday party don’t have to feel left out with employee rewards.

Choosing a Reward Provider

  • Select a reward provider that makes the most of your budget. Reward Link doesn’t charge any fees for most rewards!
  • Your reward catalog should include brands that your employees find desirable. Reward Link includes 100+ gift card options, including top retailers. See our full reward catalog here.
  • Choose a provider that offers recipient support so you aren’t stuck answering employee questions. Reward Link offers support to you and your recipients.
  • Your provider should be able to deliver rewards to all employees—no matter their location. Reward Link can be sent to recipients anywhere in the U.S. and over 25 other countries.
  • Rewards should be accessible to all employees. Our mission is to make rewards easy to send and awesome to receive—for everyone. That’s why we prioritize accessibility in our reward experience.

Employee engagement is more important than ever. Rewarding your employees for their hard work this year can be both personalized and inexpensive with a solution like Reward Link.

Download the holiday guide to learn how you can easily send holiday rewards this year!

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