The equivalent of 1.3m UK SMEs have unnecessarily lost talent this year by making employees feel undervalued, directly feeding into The Great Resignation which has seen people leaving their jobs at the highest rate since 2009.

Research, commissioned by digital gifting company Prezzee, highlights that 24 percent of UK SMEs have lost undervalued talent in the past four-six months.

In organisations of more than 250 staff, four in 10 HR Directors say they have changed or are looking at alternatives to reward staff – regardless of the changes to where their staff work. 


The Great Resignation: reward schemes

Despite The Great Resignation, over a third (35%) of SMEs say all employees get the same rewards, regardless of location, job title or other contributing factors, despite differing hobbies and passions. 

Much of the budget laid aside for rewarding staff is not used to its full potential as two thirds (66%) said their team did not attend events or rewards were not received how they would like. 

The research also highlighted why so many employees do not engage with reward schemes and events, as 80 percent of HR Directors acknowledged that they do not understand their interests well enough. 

The data also highlights that there’s too much impetus put solely on the shoulders of HR Directors to get this right. 

Only 16 percent of SMEs use a team within the business made up of employees at multiple levels to decide the rewards and incentive strategy to drive increased happiness and staff retention.


James Malia, UK MD of Prezzee, said: “When times are tough, as they undoubtedly have been over the past two years, reward and incentive strategies are more important than ever. They’re a clear way to showcase how highly a company values its staff and as our data reveals, when not done well it directly results in people leaving for greener pastures.

“It’s therefore important that businesses are doing everything they can to support employees during the cost of living crisis. It doesn’t need to be a huge change in strategy either, the trick is to offer personalised rewards and incentives regularly – rather than making people wait a year for bonuses. It’s then that people will realise quite how highly businesses value them, especially when these incentives come at a time when money is tight, as it is for many during the current cost of living crisis.

Times of financial difficulties can be hard to open-up about, especially within the place of work, so HR and line managers need to be one step ahead of their employees. Indeed, the future of loyalty incentives should revolve around personalised, thoughtful rewards that highlight how much businesses care about their employees. Those companies which change their ways now will find themselves in a much stronger position come 2023.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.