New Research by Reward Gateway Suggests HR Leaders Are Struggling to Meet the Demands of the Modern Workforce This Holiday Season

BOSTON – (November 20, 2019) – A new study from global employee engagement company, Reward Gateway, which surveyed 1,400 employees and senior decision-makers across the UK, U.S. and Australia, has revealed that the modern workforce would prefer to forego traditional workplace holiday perks, such as a holiday party or annual bonus, in favor of more consistent rewards and recognition throughout the year. Notably, almost two thirds (65 percent) of employees surveyed agree that their employers could do more to understand what would be most helpful to them during the holiday season.

The research highlights what the modern workforce, which includes employees across all generations that prioritize flexibility, collaboration and purpose, prefers from their employers during the holiday season:

  • About 58 percent of recent graduates agree that they would prefer to forego a holiday bonus in favor of more frequent rewards throughout the year, compared to just over 42 percent of employees aged 45-54.
  • More than half of employees would prefer to forego a holiday party and would prefer instead to have ongoing rewards, recognition and savings throughout the year. Of those surveyed, the top result was more than 4 in 10 (46%) employees preferring savings on everyday purchases instead of a standard holiday party.
  • When it comes to stress levels during the holidays, 65 percent of HR managers acknowledge that their employees have heightened levels of stress in their financial health, but only about 40 percent offer support in this area, which employees are looking for.  

The findings highlight that HR and business leaders must evolve to meet the demands of the modern workforce. In fact, more than three quarters (76 percent) agree that they could in fact do more to understand what would be most helpful to employees during the holiday season. 

“Today, employees are challenging their employers to look at their benefits as well as reward and recognition programs more closely, getting them to understand that what has worked traditionally may not work for today’s modern workforce,” said Robert Hicks, Group HR Director at Reward Gateway. “What’s interesting from the findings is that employee preference is changing, and that managers agree – companies could be doing more to better engage their workforces. Organizations that prioritize listening to their people and delivering continuous rewards and recognition can create an environment where employees are more engaged and excited about where they work all year, not just during the holidays.”

To learn more about the impact of strategic recognition on employee engagement, please visit

About Reward Gateway

Reward Gateway helps more than 1,800 of the world’s leading companies, in 23 countries, to attract, engage, and retain their best people with an employee engagement platform that brings employee recognition and reward, communications, discounts, benefits and surveys into one unified hub. Clients include American Express, Unilever, Samsung, IBM, and McDonald’s. For more information, please visit