In these tough economic conditions, staff commitment is a crucial issue across UK schools – not least due to teachers’ stressful and sometimes low-paid working environments.
Retaining and motivating key staff is an essential part of developing organisational performance – every bit as important as satisfying pupils and parents. As such, reducing a school’s incentive budget is a false economy.
Teacher performance can impact directly onto a school’s reputation, as well as on student performances. This means that schools would do well to incorporate rewards that incentivise and motivate teachers, in order to boost commitment, confidence and morale across the organisation. At the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA), our latest results showed that like-for-like corporate sales of gift cards and vouchers were up by 5.56% in the B2B market for the first quarter of 2014.
Traditional teacher rewards such as chocolates or ‘bottles of something’ for Christmas certainly get noticed – but they can often be underappreciated. Teachers are notably better motivated when they have the ability to choose their reward themselves – perhaps somethingpersonal to them.
Due to the variety of personalities in a staff room, it is important to recognise staff individually with a personalised gift that they will value. Through the appreciation of an individual taste and brand preferences, managers can positively impact on their staff’s performance.
A cash bonus has been a more traditional way for schools to reward their teachers. However, cash can become overlooked when it arrives months later in a payslip, or is simply swallowed up in day-to-day living expenses – and reduced by taxes. A gift card or voucher avoids this issue, and gives teachers something special to spend only on themselves.
The variety of gift cards and vouchers now available means that the risk of buying the wrong thing or getting someone something they already have is greatly reduced. For greater personalisation to each staff member, department store vouchers offer a wide variety of gifts. Foodies can use a meal voucher to eat out with friends, while fashionistas can reward themselves on the high street. Vouchers also offer experiences that can be tailored to the individual’s preference, giving teachers the opportunity to do something special outside work with their friends or families.
Teachers often give up their free time for class trips, and this overtime can be rewarded with a voucher that allows the teacher to do something enriching in their own free time. There’s also the option of ‘one for all’ or multi-store vouchers, providing an even wider choice.
Rewarding staff with vouchers and gift cards is easily organised and facilitated. There are options to pre-plan, buy in-store or online, as well as digital methods for a last minute purchase. Ultimately, by taking a fresh approach to rewarding their staff, schools can improve staff loyalty and motivation, resulting in a stable and successful workplace. Tailoring the right gift card to an individual demonstrates genuine gratitude, which can result in employee satisfaction and a motivated workforce.
Andrew Johnson is Director General at the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA)