By Bridget McCrea
This is the second part in a series of stories relating to keeping your best employees. Here is part one: Boosting Employee Retention.
According to recent studies from the Incentive Federation, gift cards rank as the most frequently used type of corporate reward. The organization says convenience, ease of use and administration, and the range of options make stored value gift cards the perfect choice for many sales managers and incentive program administrators.
These non-cash rewards are enhanced by a perceived “trophy value” that surrounds them. An outdoor gas grill purchased with a gift card, for example, will serve as a positive reminder to the participant of his or her performance (and firm) every time it is fired up. Cash, on the other hand, quickly gets mixed in recipients’ minds as compensation and usually disappears into the family budget.
Here are a few more reasons to consider gift cards as a way to keep employees onboard and engaged even during challenging business environments:
Recognition programs: Gift cards are marks of accomplishment that can be given in an awards ceremony or included in a congratulatory note or e-mail. There is also opportunity to share the experience with family by having them partake in rewards such as restaurants and travel. Unlike cash, employees are unlikely to consider gift certificates and cards as compensation and thus do not begin to expect them.
Safety initiatives: Gift certificates and cards are used to recognize individual or team milestones: months without injury or accident, reduced days off for illness or injury, following and documenting safety procedures, or demonstrating knowledge of preventative practices and emergency preparedness.
Sales incentives: Gift certificates and cards work especially well for sales incentives. They’re scalable—that is, available in many denominations—and thus flexible enough to reward for any volume of incremental sales. And unlike cash, which is a common and expected form of variable compensation in this field, certificates and cards are seen as a one-time reward for a job well done.
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