The big debate

Question of loyalty

Just how do you attract, retain and keep good employees loyal to your business? Loyalty experts give their thoughts on the best techniques…


David Pearson, Filmology
“For employees who are lowly paid, incentives can offer them a chance to earn greater rewards if they are set at attainable levels. By offering smaller, more frequent motivational gifts, employers can improve employee engagement. 

“An effective incentive scheme helps to develop employees’ skills and knowledge and, ultimately, motivate and enable them to deliver good service. To achieve this, the incentive should be attractive to the majority of staff. The challenge is to find a reward suited to everyone.

“Experiential rewards are appealing, enjoyable and create memories; all of which generate positive associations with the employer among employees. We’ve seen an increase in the number of companies employing many temporary and part-time staff that are incorporating cinema ticket vouchers within an employee incentive programme, since this is a popular and financially viable solution. The recipient has the flexibility to select a film that appeals to their taste and it is a treat to remember that can be shared with a loved one, therefore enhancing the overall experience.”

Simon White, Protravel
“Retaining the best employees is an ongoing issue for employers as they look to build up expertise at all levels within their organisation, encourage high levels of performance and improve business success.

“Studies show reward and recognition is key to making employees feel valued and engaged and, therefore, more likely to stay. Frequently saying thank you goes a long way, and rewards make the thank you more appreciated. Putting in place a scheme that incentivises employees for meeting targets, and recognises those that go the extra mile in any department, can be a highly effective retention tool.

“Travel and experiences are ideal to both incentivise staff and to say thank you as they are inspirational and aspirational and an exciting way to give employees a well-earned break, something that they may be struggling to achieve as household budgets remain tight. Offering a reward with wow factor is something that the potential recipient will want to work towards and achieve through effort and loyalty.”

Julian Courtney, New Look
“Because of the current climate, many people are facing reductions in their number of working hours, salaries and entitlements, which means that it’s important to keep employees motivated and feeling valued.

“One of the key aspects of engendering loyalty is to ensure employers understand their employees – or audience – and then make the right choice of rewards/incentives for their people. New Look is a popular choice of reward because it offers broad appeal – to women, men and youngsters, through our clothing ranges. We’re one of the UK’s foremost fashion brands, which means that we are well known and renowned for offering value for money.

“So, something as simple of a £50 employee of the month voucher can go a long way in New Look, provide a real feelgood factor and give them access to a tangible gift that individuals want and can choose for themselves.”

Nicholas Roi, SilkRoad
“Building staff loyalty and ensuring retention begins before an employee starts on their first day. First impressions count, and the first impression your company makes will be during onboarding.

“Onboarding is the process during which new staff gain the skills and knowledge required to perform their role and assimilate into your company’s culture. The more efficient the onboarding, the less time it will take them to reach full productivity. Did you know 65% of staff who leave within the first 3-6 months make that choice based on a combination of their ability to fit into the culture and their onboarding experience? If they settle quickly they are likely to remain with that company for at least 18 months before considering their next step. It is after this time that other factors come into play; opportunities for career progression within the company and benefit packages.

“Software automates much of the administration behind onboarding, leaving the company free to focus on those all-important first impressions. It can prompt team members to complete tasks in advance of an employee’s arrival and can provide employees with vital information, documents and forms for completion before their first day. In this way, new team members can hit the ground running.

“Effective onboarding can help you attract new staff. It can facilitate an environment in which team members go home and boast about their role and company to friends. If this starts happening you will find your reputation as an employer growing rapidly.”

Ben Cook, Costa Coffee
“Costa Coffee is a great employee benefit offering, particularly when you think of the vast numbers of people who pick up a coffee and a breakfast on their way into work. This has become a part of their working day and although only a small cost when looked at in isolation, it can mount up over time.

“To be a given a card that can be topped up with value, and used alongside a Costa loyalty card, has real perceived value in the eyes of the employee. It shows thought on the part of the employer, which makes people feel they are valued by the business.”

Kuljit Kaur, The Voucher Shop
“Company culture has a significant impact on how employees feel about their employer and more thought should be given to aligning the rewards and benefits on offer to organisational values and practices, whether it’s an emphasis on ensuring employees are motivated and engaged, a focus on an open workplace, or satisfaction at work. 

“We have launched the HR Celebration Toolkit, an easy-to-use automated system which enables companies to reward, engage and motivate employees by recognising and celebrating occasions with them, including birthdays and special anniversaries. The voucher or gift card-based rewards are delivered with a personalised e-shot or card and is a low-cost, yet personal way to recognise employees. It generates a ‘feelgood factor’ and boosts morale, which has a knock-on effect on productivity.

“Similarly, offering benefits that employees will value and that make a difference to them will make the employer attractive to new recruits and demonstrate to existing staff that they care. Given the economic climate, the cost of living and the fact that pay rises are not generally being offered, flexible benefits such as discounted retail vouchers that can help staff make their salaries go further make good business sense as the employer gets happier staff and the employees get more in their wallet.”

Andy Philpott, Edenred
“The main issue we see in the use of benefits and reward as tools to engender loyalty is that although many employers take the important step of making the investment, after implementation, they fail to get the most out of it and see the impact they can have for their company. There are three reasons: The first is because although in the planning phase employers may think about benefits which might engender loyalty or retain staff, they don’t always put in measures which can trace the business impact and measure the commercial benefits. When it comes to justifying the investment, they don’t know whether the benefits are working, so it can be hard to build support for loyalty schemes.

“Secondly, many organisations fail to recognise that while reward and benefits are important in retention, how employees feel about their line manager will often define their performance and their feelings about the organisation. The manager plays a critical role in employee loyalty.

“Finally, many organisations have yet to grasp the importance of meeting the different needs of employees. We live in a world of personalisation and yet the way many organisations offer reward and benefits ignores this.”

John Dove, House of Fraser
“On the basis of the volume of voucher sales we make to agency specialists, we’re seeing a year-on-year increase. I think this means that companies continue to take employee loyalty seriously, as they want to keep good staff, and keep the cost of recruitment down.

“Vouchers are a great way to engender loyalty as the employer is giving the individual the opportunity to choose their own gift that is relevant and special to them, which boosts employee good feeling towards the company.”

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