One of the best ways to keep your employees satisfied and feel appreciated is by rewarding them with incentives. Every one of us wants to feel valued and acknowledged for the work that we do. It creates a sense of loyalty towards the organization. Businesses that do not have a rewards system might end up having huge turnover rates. While the employee doesn’t expect a trip to the Caribbean islands every time, even a small token of appreciation will go a long way in improving their morale.
It is not always possible to provide cash rewards as it can affect the bottom line badly. Unless you are a cash-rich company like Apple, you cannot afford to incentivize your employees in the form of cash rewards.
Enter Gift Cards.
They are a loved form of incentive, and employees are more than happy to receive gift cards. Research has shown that there is as much spike in productivity when the incentives are gift cards as they are when it is cash.
Benefits of including gift cards in your employee rewards program:
1. It is cost-effective & easy:
One of the best things about gift cards as an incentive is that it is extremely cost-effective. Most businesses have gift cards, and purchasing them for your employees from a popular retailer will never be a hassle. You do not have to find space for storing the gifts, too, especially if they are digital. There are no delivery charges. You can even create a gift card for any value, which makes it even more appealing to a business that will have different tiers of rewards.
In fact, gift cards as a reward is something that can be given on the spot. There is no better way to reward an employee on the spot to recognize their work. You can even customize the gift card by using your brand identity elements, which will make the employee feel more special.
2. Employees can treat themselves:
When you give your customers cash, they are most likely to use it to pay their mortgages and are not really thinking of using it to splurge on themselves. If you give them a gift card, they are more likely to splurge on themselves without feeling guilty of it. This way, your employees will associate happiness with your brand. They will be encouraged to buy something that they have always wanted, especially since the gift card wasn’t expected in the first place.
3. It motivates your employees:
Instead of offering gift cards of the usual retailers like Amazon or Costco, you can even find exciting prizes that they may like. Give them gift cards of businesses that provide them a thrilling experience. It could be an amusement ride or something similar. It will keep the employee motivated to be the one who gets to take his/her family for the trip. Such a gift will also act as a huge ego-booster for the employee who wins as they will get the feeling that they are able to provide for their family with such a prize because it is a vindication of their abilities and standing in the company as a dependable employee.
4 Improves sales and performance:
For teams driven by commission, it is pivotal that you choose the right kind of incentives. Apart from offering commissions, which are a standard in the industry, you might want to choose gift cards of businesses that add meaning to them. Using non-cash incentives like gift cards will help develop a direct connection between employee and sales performance.
5 Reduce turnover rates:
Performance recognition and rewards are excellent exercises for businesses that want to retain their employees for a long time. Losing your existing employees is as good as losing an existing customer- both affect your bottom line negatively, resulting in the business spending hours to train and get the new employees up to speed.
6 Create a healthy competition:
A business with all the employees working to outcompete each other with mutual respect and admiration is a great place to work. While gift cards will not elicit respect for each other, creating a competitive environment is possible with the help of the former. During the start of a new quarter, you can announce the rewards for your team to use it as a motivation to give their best.
A thing to know about gift cards:
There are two types of gift cards- 1. Closed-loop, and 2. Open-loop. Closed Loop gift cards are those that work with only a particular store, like that of Amazon or Ikea. If you have an Amazon gift card, you can only redeem it from the Amazon store. An Open Loop gift card usually has a partnership with a network such as Visa or Mastercard. They can be used across different brands unless specifically mentioned.
When you provide open-loop gift cards, you provide your employees the freedom to redeem the gift card from stores they like. A closed-loop card restricts them and allows them no choice, but if you already have a word with your employee about it, there should be no problem.
Here is how you can make your gift card reward program much more effective:
After deciding to invest in gift cards as a reward for your employees, here are the next set of actions that you need to take. Announce the gift card publicly and tell your employees that the winner will be publicly feted. Ensure that you provide a personal touch while giving away the gift cards. A hand-written note or personal appreciation from the top boss would be a great addition to the reward.
We cannot stress on the importance of providing exciting rewards for your employees to keep them happy and satisfied with you. Your employees are as important as your customers. While there is no perfect way to use gift cards as a performance reward system, you should always make it a point to come up with a program that is perfect for your business.
If you are looking to incorporate an employee rewards program by adding gift cards to the kitty, the 99minds team can help you through the entire process, right from ideation to getting them done.