Using gift cards for employee rewards and incentives
One of the quickest and easiest ways to increase employee engagement
Employee rewards are one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase employee engagement. And when getting appreciated for their contribution to the success of the organization and their team, digital gift cards are at the top of the list due to their ease of redemption and flexibility. Rewards build motivation, increase productivity, and cultivate a sense of loyalty towards team members and the company.
And while gift card rewards and incentives are great motivators, programs often fail because they are just too hard to administer. It’s often the logistics or soft costs associated with delivering rewards and incentives that make the programs too cumbersome. If it takes more than 15 minutes to create a program or more than a minute to send a one-off incentive, you’ll have fewer programs, fewer incentives, and less engaged employees.
Why use rewards and incentives on a regular basis?
Recognizing employees for specific, identifiable actions proves you appreciate their skills and the company values them. If possible, do this early on in an employee’s tenure.
Showing appreciation for employees exhibits your workplace’s values, including respect, fairness, open communication, teamwork, and more.
Employee recognition is a positive way to communicate your high standards for work and your willingness to reward people with similar standards.
Employees stay when they know their work is valued by you and company leaders. They quit when managers fail to show employee appreciation.
When you publicly reinforce behaviors you want, you motivate employees to help the team reach its goals.
Recognizing employee teams builds camaraderie and a spirit of cooperation, while also boosting the credibility of the team, as well as your management.
The best employee recognition practices can be shared across the organization, spreading the power of employee engagement with efficient branded processes.
Expands compensation realities
Employee awards (like merchandise, travel, or experiences) show personal appreciation as well as tangible gratitude. Though not technically compensation, these awards have real and memorable value.
Proves your commitment
Making sure your employees know they are valued and appreciated shows you really care about their success and their future at the company.
Recognizing employee anniversaries is a great way to honor long-serving team members and it shows new employees the quality of commitment. What does “long-standing” mean in your organization? More and more, companies are recognizing employees sooner in their careers, like on their first or third anniversary.)
Drives additional activities/engagement
Using rewards and incentives shouldn’t be a one-and-done process. With the automated ability to follow up with employees post-incentive-claim, you are more likely to further engagement: Internal employee surveys, promoting reviews on sites like indeed, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor, or sharing their news across the organization on slack or Teams.
“We have multiple platforms for incentives. When our managers need to put together a program quickly or give a one-off reward, we use TruCentive. It’s easier and delivers a better-targeted experience where we can really convey our appreciation”
~ Kelly Meisner, CEO, ITC Inc.
Digital gift cards are one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to deliver rewards and incentives that motivate. Studies show that programs using non-tangible rewards (such as gift cards) are more effective than cash-based incentives.
The Incentive Research Foundation found that 44.07% of employees agree that gift cards are the “best rewards to receive,” while 27.12% agree that they are “good rewards to receive”. That said, the value of a gift card to an employee, customer, or partner.
“And yet in business, we call it marketing when we hand out polo shirts and cheap leather bags with our logo attached to our most important relationships. And then we have the audacity to call that a gift… That’s not a gift. A gift is recipient-focused; a promotional item is brand-focused. And when you try to blend both of them, most of the time what happens is you’re filling up landfills with items with your logo on it. And stop giving out polos with softball-sized logos at golf tournaments, because those just end up at Goodwill.” ~ John Ruhlin, Giftology
More Memorable Recipient Experience
Gift cards are most often claimed for something tangible (merchandise or an event/experience). The more important the selection, the more likely it will be remembered and tied to your incentive — what you did for them, and the hard work that got them a reward. Very often, your incentive won’t cover the full value of the recipient’s selection, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a problem if you offer lunch or a cup of coffee because it may make the giver look out of touch or just cheap. But if it is a higher value item that the recipient adds your reward or incentive to, the benefit of that item or event is still associated with the incentive. Customers continually comment on the fact that they give customers or employees Apple or other electronics gift cards and they used them for much more costly items. Having the recipient associate your $100 gift card with a big screen TV or MacBook increases the benefit of the incentive to both the giver and the recipient. Establishing a trophy value creates a lasting reminder of the achievement; something they can celebrate with their peers and family over time. Memorability is one of the main reasons why non-cash rewards are more effective than cash. The experience of getting rewarded and purchasing something is more valuable than the reward itself.
Another advantage of gift cards over a cash incentive is that it allows the recipient to disassociate it from cash and use it for something they may have been wanting to purchase for a while, but without worrying that it would be better spent going towards a bill or savings.
It can be difficult to talk about cash bonuses with our colleagues and friends, but a gift card they selected from a curated group, or the item or experience they use the card for are tangible things they can talk about, without the stigma. Gift cards for employee rewards and incentives let recipients talk about their achievements more freely while creating a positive impression of your company which can help with attracting and retaining talent.
It’s also important to consider the potential downside of rewards and incentives giving. Cash-based incentives are often viewed as a salary boost or bonus and are more likely to fuel a feeling of inferiority among other team members. It is also often seen as socially unacceptable to brag about cash or question someone else about it. Award typically find it more comfortable to share their happiness about a non-cash reward with their peers. Such conversations not only aid in team building but also motivate others. Non-cash achievements tend to carry a different tone and are less susceptible to trolling on internal communication and social media. The goal is to improve the morale of all while enhancing the organizations’ reputation.
Whether you’re using digital gift cards from TruCentive for employees, customers, partners, vendors, or any other purpose, there is Zero waste. Because you set the expiration date of your incentive, once expired, those who did not claim their incentive (forgot about it, felt guilty receiving it (gift guilt is real), no longer have access to their email, etc.) will have the value of their incentive automatically returned to your account. The industry average for unclaimed cards in a B2B environment is around 21%. That saving is automatically recouped and added back to your account.
The other major cost that is often unmeasured in organizations is the overall soft cost to send incentives. Giving rewards and incentives should be fast and fun. Empower individuals in your organization to deliver incentives quickly and efficiently with pre-designed templates and projects and budgets!
The Bottom Line
Employee rewards are one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase employee engagement. Employees love gift cards for employee rewards and incentives when getting appreciated for their contribution to the success of the organization and their team. Rewards build motivation, increase productivity, and cultivate a sense of loyalty towards team members and the company.
And while rewards and incentives are great motivators, programs often fail because they are just too hard to administer. It’s often the logistics or soft costs associated with delivering rewards and incentives that make the programs too cumbersome. If it takes more than 15 minutes to create a program or more than a minute to send a one-off incentive, you’ll have fewer programs, fewer incentives, and less engaged employees.