This week, it was announced that every one of Pret a Manger’s 12,000 employees is to be gifted £1,000 to thank them for their hard work, as the popular sandwich chain is sold by its British private equity owners Bridgepoint to JAB Holdings, a Luxembourg-based investment fund.

What a fantastic way to both reassure employees about the new ownership and to reinforce the clear message that every single person within the organisation is super important to the business.

Of course, money isn’t the only way to show employees that their contribution and hard work is valued, with different life-stage, lifestyle and personal priorities influencing the form of reward that is most appreciated.

Research released this month by Small Business Prices, revealed that additional holidays/ sabbaticals and flexible working hours are considered high priority work benefit with 28% of people asked saying that they would prefer the benefit over a pay rise.

The importance of flexibility is reinforced by research undertaken by Totaljobs, which shows that more than half (59%) of employee respondents believe that flexible working is the most important benefit when looking for a job.

Over the last decade a whole new sector of employee engagement companies has sprung up to help companies get it right.  An example is Perk Box which aims to “take all the things that make winning company cultures – perks and benefits, reward and recognition, communication and visibility” packaged into one platform.

There is no doubt, having a team that feels valued and recognised is crucial to any company but perhaps the best way to help individuals choose the very best reward for them remains a competitive salary and bonus scheme?

Within small companies, like Escapade, it is perhaps easier to get the balance between monetary rewards and culture building benefits right as the team can have a greater input into what works for them.

There is no doubt that each company and every individual is very different.  For example would a waffle maker, Swizzle ice pops, escape rooms, bespoke donuts, tomato growing competitions and a slushy machine work anywhere else other than at Escapade?

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