Especially for you

The best incentives mean something special to each recipient – and an increasing range of gift card options is enabling employers to make sure every reward is a perfect fit


Incentive schemes are a popular way to drive performance, build loyalty, or simply thank team members for a job well done. But every employee is different, and in order to really incentivise them the rewards they receive need to speak to them as an individual.

The importance of rewarding staff cannot be underestimated, says Sarah Chesterton from Sainsbury’s Business Direct. “Over the past few years most businesses have been affected by tough economic conditions, meaning that they have asked a great deal of their staff and colleagues but sometimes with little in the way of pay-rises and bonuses, due to budget cuts. This has meant that employers have had to become more creative in how they motivate and incentivise their staff.

Simply rewarding everyone with the same ‘bottle of wine’ or ‘box of chocolates’ – when perhaps half your team don’t drink or wouldn’t eat chocolates – simply doesn’t cut the mustard anymore and can do more harm than good, as it suggests that you don’t know your employees as well as you should. Instead it is important to choose an intcentive that makes your employees feel valued, something that is an instant acknowledgement of good work/targets met but that also appeals to each individual person.” This is one reason that many employers choose to give a gift card or voucher, says Chesterton. “Gift cards and vouchers are a great on-the-spot reward, giving the person spending them a positive association between their reward and their employer. 


Research, planning and good communication are vital in making sure recipients receive a reward that means something to them. “It is important that businesses take time to plan their incentives and rewards programme,” says Chesterton. “Simply giving out any old ‘reward’ as a knee-jerk reaction to staff morale is not the way to keep staff motivated month after month and in fact it can have the opposite effect.

Establishing a clear and personalised reward and recognition scheme that regularly rewards employees with an incentive that really motivates them, is a much better solution for improving staff retention, engagement and loyalty throughout the year. With careful planning, using a gift card in a reward and recognition scheme allows companies to say ‘thank you’ to their employees when they have met their targets at relevant times throughout the year; lifting spirits and driving loyalty in a simple and cost effective way.

Sainsbury’s gift cards are reloadable and can be managed online which is perfect for reward schemes – as gift cards can be topped up every time a colleague meets their target. Regular topping up is an extremely effective way of making that colleague feel valued and appreciated and therefore more likely to increase their levels of performance and commitment to the company.”

Paige Davis, Corporate Account Manager at New Look Business Solutions, says the choice of reward partner is key to ensuring that rewards are relevant. “You should select to work with one reward partner, or a range of complimentary reward partners that fit the demographic of your workforce, and with brands that are relevant to the reward levels on offer. Employees need to feel engaged and motivated to succeed, so it’s important to work closely with the reward partner to develop a communications strategy that excites. At New Look Business Solutions, for example, we provide access to lifestyle images, copy and promotional offers that keep staff interested.”

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