Is ice cream the ultimate summer engagement reward for your people?

Are your people struggling to stay focused in the heat? Sometimes small rewards can have a big impact.

Is ice cream the ultimate summer engagement reward for your people?

Employee engagement is a continual challenge for employers looking to keep their people motivated and working hard, without breaking the bank. There are fundamental factors that are vital to get right, including flexible working, financial incentives and health benefits, which can be managed as part of your HR software solution. But what about the one off, eye-catching perks, the little rewards that are meant to say, “Good job team!”?

Many companies splurge on extravagant Christmas parties, or exciting events to get people out of the office. The usual example people always mention is Google, whose offices are slowly becoming some sort of technological theme park. But is bigger really better or does it resonate more keeping things simple?

The key to employee engagement is making your people feel appreciated for what they do, and sometimes the small, timely gestures can mean a lot more and go further towards keeping your people happy. Often, this is because they tend to feel more personal.  

Is ice cream the answer?

During the long summer months, it is easy for staff to lose a bit of focus. Temperatures rise, commutes suddenly seem longer and employees are forced to watch the sunshine out the office window dreaming of their next holiday – regardless of whether they just took one! When working environments are getting uncomfortably warm, and your employees want nothing more than to enjoy a dip in the pool or a drink in the beer garden, it can be easy for your people to start feeling resentful. And that does nothing to help your company culture, especially if senior employees are seen sneaking out early.

On that Friday afternoon, during the 3pm slump, why not surprise staff and brighten the last few hours of their day with an ice cream? It’ll cool them down and provide instant gratification, as well as a more positive mood towards the company. If it proves a big hit, you could even consider offering ice cream Fridays throughout June, July and August, to give everyone something to look forward to as they while away the sunny week, stuck inside.

Realistically it’s a win-win. Employees get a nice surprise, and employers can keep the costs down. It’s a cheap and easy employee engagement activity to include in your strategy that provides that bit of excitement exactly when it’s needed, and can be provided to all employees across your company, no matter their role. This is especially important for smaller businesses and start-ups who may simply not have the budget for a bigger events.

Small, inexpensive forms of engagement can go a long way to helping improve your company culture and show that you really care about your staff needs, even if it’s just a way to acknowledge the difficulty of working during the heat. If you need to engage better with your people, ice cream could be a small, easy way to show a little bit of appreciation for their hard work.  

One distribution company hired an ice cream van to come to the industrial estate where they were based, paying for over 100 ice creams for their warehouse operatives who were struggling to stay productive in the heat. A quick 10-minute break and cold treat was enough to put a smile on everyone’s faces as they headed back inside. The operations director commented that it was the cheapest employee engagement he had ever done, and would remember it in future.

The only thing to keep in mind is allergies and intolerances, to make sure you don’t leave anyone out!

Engagement is the key to successful company cultures

Penguin Random House offers free books, Google offers massages and car washes, so why don’t you follow Ben and Jerry’s example and offer free ice cream? (You don’t have to supply Ben and Jerry’s – a simple rocket lolly will do!)

Keep your people happy this summer, and keep productivity levels high. After all, we live in England so it’s not going to last too long!

Engagement activities are an important part of any strategy to improve company culture and make your people feel appreciated, but don’t forget to master the basics too. Open communication, a quick and easy way to book holidays, efficient expenses processing, and regular feedback are all important features of any strategy, which can be managed by your HR software. Then you can add your small gestures on top to really make your people feel happy. 

For other tips and advice about employee engagement, why not search our other blogs including tips to getting more regular employee feedback, or download our free Employee Engagement guide below.


Employee Engagement Guide