Managing team reward in the festive season

Caroline Mboijana

What you need to know:

I have grown to the stage where I can give my staff more incentive, especially during this time

Dear Caroline,

I am a Small to Medium Enterprise business employing 20 people. The festive season is the busiest for me. I have a chain of wines and spirits shops. I have grown to the stage where I can give my staff more incentive, especially during this time. Everyone has had to work in the past, but this year I need to do something different to reward my team. How do I go about this?


H ello Mark, congratulations on sustaining and growing a business in the current economic landscape.  The principle of reward applies to both big corporates and SMEs. I like that you recognise the need to reward and thank the team for contributing to your business’ success. It is essential that, as the business owner, your team sees you as an owner who recognises their contribution. As a small business, how you incentivise your team may vary significantly from the big companies; nonetheless, you have options.

This season is all about family, and even if you are busy selling to meet customer demands, consider setting a rotating schedule. This may look like some staff having time off during Christmas and another cluster of teams having time off during the New Year. This means that all staff will spend time with their families. Another way to say thank you is to give each employee a hamper. The contents of your hamper can include food or basics that most families will need during this time and may be expensive. Consider giving staff shopping vouchers for a limited amount. This allows team members to manage their shopping during the festive period. An additional incentive to consider is holding a Christmas party. This can also be seen as a team-building activity that can bring the staff together to bond. This is ideal given that you have chains of stores, and many staff may never see each other during the year and coming together allows the team to engage and interact. The most significant incentive you could consider is to give your staff a 13th cheque.

With all these ideas, you will need to review your financials and ensure that you can afford them. The other aspect you will need to think about is sustainability. When business owners or organisations start giving these benefits, it becomes part of the culture, and many expect it to happen every year. To manage expectations, you must consider how you will have the financing each year to collect the reward. You are considering this strategy as a good thing. Good luck.

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]


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