If employee engagement is a challenge for your business, consider incentives as a way to engage employees and encourage participation. A well-executed incentive program will improve employee performance and engagement by increasing interest in desired company outcomes. 

Using gift card incentives to drive employee engagement

If employee engagement is a challenge for your business, consider incentives as a way to engage employees and encourage participation. A well-executed incentive program will improve employee performance and engagement by increasing interest in desired company outcomes.

A study conducted by the International Society of Performance Improvement found that an effectively designed and well-executed incentive program can improve performance by an average of 22 percent for individuals . The research also found that incentives offered for persistence toward a company goal improved performance by an average of 27 percent. This research proves what a powerful motivator the right incentives can be.

Designing an effective incentive program has proven challenging for many businesses. Finding a one-size-fits-all incentive can be difficult. Companies must find incentives that will motivate a vast array of employees across all levels of the organization. The chosen incentive must meet the needs of associates from all walks of life with an option to satisfy all demographics, interests, needs and lifestyles.

The need for variety on a budget makes gift cards an ideal incentive for any business. Take into account the following five reasons why you should consider gift cards as incentives for your business.

  1. Employees want gift cards. According to a recent study by Incentives Magazine, 8 out of 10 employees report that they prefer gift cards over other incentives. "Gift cards continue to be the number one requested gift in every holiday season," says Rick Fletcher, vice president of Marketing for Ceridian Stored Value Solutions. "We shouldn't be surprised that they are also the preferred choice for incentives. They are the perfect reward. Gift cards give employees options on what they buy and when they buy it. They offer flexibility that cannot be achieved with any other incentive."
  2. Gift cards provide choice. From popular retailers and restaurants to Visa and MasterCard branded cards, gift cards offer unique options for cardholders. "Gift cards offer variety," says Brenda Gilpatrick, director of corporate incentives for Ceridian Stored Value Solutions. "These appeal to all age groups, genders and walks-of-life. Gift cards can be used to pay everyday expenses in a stretched economy or used to supplement luxury indulgences."

    Gilpatrick also points out that companies win too. "Gift cards come in any denomination from $5 to $500. They require very little shelf or warehousing space, making them easy to manage and budget friendly for any size business."
  3. Gift cards can be shared with family and friends. In today's economic environment, consumers are giving up discretionary expenditures such as special dinners out or movies with family or friends. By providing employees with gift cards as an incentive, they can treat themselves or share their gift with others. Companies reap the rewards as employees associate their evening of fun with the value their employer placed on their contributions. This feeling of value leads to happier, more productive employees.
  4. Gift cards are easy to customize. Gift cards are easy to personalize by adding your business name or logo, creating a unique experience for employees. By adding your logo, employees will associate the use of that card with your generous recognition.

    The gift card also acts as a billboard for your company. As employees use company-customized gift cards, your brand will stand out to anyone who sees the card. This can be beneficial for recruitment and general brand recognition.
  5. Gift cards can fit many corporate needs.The use of gift cards does not have to be limited to employee incentives. Personalized gift cards can also be used as rewards in corporate health and wellness programs, in consumer promotions, to promote customer and employee retention, or as dealer and reseller awards. Bulk purchases to fit a variety of scenarios can provide additional cost savings.

If you decide to use gift cards as your incentive of choice, consider the following points prior to choosing a gift card provider: 

  • Reliability: Is the company that provides the gift cards reputable and financially sound?
  • Personalization: What customization options are available? Can you put your company logo on the cards?
  • Support: What support services are provided? You will need someone experienced in program development, order history and tracking, automated notifications and customized web sites for your employees.
  • Variety: Are lower and higher denominations available to meet all of your objectives?

Engaged employees have a direct effect on your company's bottom line. Incent your employees to meet company goals by providing the reward they prefer.