Gift Cards Remain Popular As Reward Choice | Incentive & Motivation

Gift Cards Remain Popular As Reward Choice | Incentive & Motivation

When it comes to rewarding, businesses are always looking for the best way to motivate their staff by acknowledging their effort and hard work. Howeve

When it comes to rewarding, businesses are always looking for the best way to motivate their staff by acknowledging their effort and hard work. However, given today’s highly diverse workforce, finding a reward that is inclusive can often be difficult. Where are gift cards sitting now?

Whilst we all remember the old survey that showed more than half of consumers would rather get a gift card worth $25 than get an actual gift worth $45 – the market place seems to be expanding when it comes to employee rewards, with most major retailers offering their own corporate service or ‘for business’ function.

The UKGCVA conference hosted yearly is a celebration of the world of Gift cards, and whilst certainly a niche event, the big players in the room leave you in no doubt that rewarding with gift cards is big business.

Gift cards can offer a perfect solution to everyone’s problem at the moment – being personal, and being relevant. We are also seeing a huge resurgence in actual gifting, and gift cards sit partly in this space, but also in the ‘digital’ camp – solving lots of problems.

The fact is, gift cards never wane with consumers. There is always an issue of redemption, wastage and open/closed loop to consider, but overall, they offer businesses a unique opportunity to reward staff in a way that is beneficial for both the employee and the employer.  Most businesses know that finding a single reward that suits every employee can be difficult. For example, research from Sodexo found that 84% of millennial employees want experiential rewards that they can share with others, which is a stark contrast with the Baby Boomers who typically prefer physical gifts.
To address this issue, some companies now offer multi-store gift cards as part of their motivation and rewards scheme. This form of rewarding addresses these generational differences, as an employee of the Baby Boomer generation can opt to spend their reward at a retailer, whereas a millennial can enjoy a meal out or cinema trip with a friend.
By offering a card that can cater for these different preferences and tastes, businesses are effectively providing a reward that is unique to each recipient. At the same time, companies have total control over the value of each card, which means that managers can link the reward to the employee’s performance.

Over the past few years, a growing number of businesses have even started to introduce dedicated online portals for their rewards, so that employees can redeem their gift cards online. Employees that have received a gift card can go online to monitor how much they have spent on the card and if it is a discount card, staff can then see which retailers are signed up to the discount scheme. If employees are registering their gift cards online, the business has a way of tracking whether the gift card rewards strategy is being used, providing data for them to asses where the scheme needs improving.
Businesses need to think about innovative options like these in order to future-proof their offering and ensure that their rewarding remains effective. In the modern workplace, rewarding plays a key role in recognising and reinforcing good work, making it a great motivational tool. Having a long-term plan in place for a reward scheme will allow companies to implement an effective strategy throughout the year, taking into account the times of the year when staff motivation is typically lowest such as Christmas and January, allowing businesses to put preventative measures in place through incentives and rewards.
To obtain these benefits, however, companies need to monitor the industry carefully to ensure their employee rewards are comparable, or ideally better than, their competitors. Using gift cards can actually work wonders here, as employees will have much greater control over their rewards and how and where they use them.

Are you using gift cards in your reward strategy yet? Tell all below!