The True Cost of Rewarding Your Employees - Vouchers vs Merchandise

Employee Incentives Merchandise Recognition Rewards

02 November 2015

As a general rule if you ask anyone whether they prefer cash based rewards like vouchers and pre-paid credit cards, or trophy value rewards like merchandise and travel, often the automatic answer will be to take the cash based reward.

By our very nature we’re programmed to desire cash, that is why most of us spend 8-10 hours a day at work, right? Many people have also had bad experiences in the past with overpriced rewards and poor selection. However, if we take a slightly deeper look into the brand impact of voucher and credit card focused programmes, you may soon start to realise the overall impact they can have on your employees and their relationship and identification to you as an employer. Here are a few simple reasons to suggest limiting, or totally removing, voucher and credit card based rewards.
 

Limited opportunity to celebrate success 

Credit cards and voucher rewards offer an impersonal opportunity to celebrate success when compared to ‘trophy value’ rewards, (such as merchandise or travel). One of the key challenges is that you simply don’t know what your employees have spent their vouchers and credit card balances on. In effect, you’re just giving away money with little or no opportunity to share in its benefits. A well-designed rewards strategy should be all about the celebration of rewards success, to deliver maximum kudos with your staff.  If we don’t know what our staff are doing with their rewards, we’re missing out on key opportunities to share in their successes, maintain mindshare and strengthen our relationships with them. Insight into the rewards behaviours of your staff allows you to start to understand their personal behaviours, personalities and motivations. It’s vital to keep your employee rewards and recognition programme top of mind; ensuring employees remember that it’s YOU who is providing their rewards. Don’t let your programme just become a bank account or wallpaper for your team.
 

Delivering employees a personalised thank you

Often the case with vouchers and pre-paid credit cards is that the brand experience your employees end up having is with the retailer where they purchase, or redeem their vouchers, (rather sadly not with you). Why do all the hard work in developing your rewards programme, embracing your team member and nurturing the relationship and their success only to let someone else own the final rewards experience? It is better that you have a complete branded gallery full of fantastic reward options and a service delivery team to provide your employees with a first class experience. Ideally, enable them to set and track rewards goals within the programme, then work with your employees toward achieving their desired rewards. This is a true win-win situation allowing you to fully leverage your reward programme to achieve shared goals with your staff and a personalised way of saying thank you.
 

Creating a positive and lasting psychological workplace link

When employees are recognised and awarded physical rewards through your programme they remember them. They remember how they earned them and most importantly they remember you, your encouragement and your appreciation.  These memories are long lasting and create positive psychological links back to you as an employer, (especially bigger ticket items). Doing so increases motivation, engagement levels and nurtures loyalty to the job. The challenge with pre-paid credit cards and vouchers is that they basically equal cash, which we spend on everyday necessities. As a reward they are far too quickly swallowed up by the daily costs of living, easily losing their impact and simply become an expectation rather than reward. What may seem simple and convenient often takes them a step further away from you as their employer and why they received it in the first place.
 
While on the surface vouchers and pre-prepaid credit cards are a simple and convenient way to reward your employees, sometimes simple and convenient just doesn’t cut it. Issuing gift cards creates a positive link between the employee and the provider so if you want to create a deep, long-lasting link between the reward and your company, you need to look outside of what is simple and convenient.

 
 


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