Intangible rewards will never take over

The findings of the IRS Employment Review surveys on long-service awards (Personnel Today, 28 June) suggesting that the practice of using gifts as opposed to cash or vouchers is a thing of the past is, in our view, materially inaccurate and does not relate to actual practice on a large scale.

I agree the carriage clock and gold watch are not as popular as they once were, but they have been replaced by more modern lifestyle items such as high-spec sound systems, digital cameras and MP3 music players.

Out of the million service awards we supply each year, we see little evidence of cash awards and extra annual leave replacing a ‘real’ gift.

Aside from the significant tax penalties, cash programmes and extra leave end up being viewed by staff as an entitlement, as opposed to a reward, which is why most enlightened companies seek to separate basic remuneration from their reward programmes. In turn, gift vouchers, which in most cases are restricted to one brand, are often seen by employees as a lazy, unimaginative approach by their employers.

Companies which appreciate the valuable impact of dedicated-service awards and recognition realise that employees want and deserve a choice and that the single most important aspect of the entire recognition process is for an employee to be correctly presented and acknowledged with a ‘tangible’, impressive reward in front of their peers.

The advent of online programmes now enables companies to offer their employees unbelievable choice, aligned with industry best recognition practice.

Jonathan Haskell
Chief executive
Michael C Fina Worldwide

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