The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Employee Rewards and Gift Cards


Let me set the scene. It is employee bonus time, or time to give out the expected corporate Christmas gifts. There is Christmas cheer, baubles everywhere and the dreaded mistletoe. The anticipation is palpable… what will I get this year?


Then someone on high utters the corporate equivalent of:

“The best gift you can give is a hug: one size fits all and no one ever minds if you return it.”

Whoa big hoss…you said what…?!!!


This to me is almost the perfect visual example (that I could find anyway) for what goes so wrong with many corporate employee reward and gift card schemes. They offer a metaphorical hug, often in reward points format, or they miss expectations so monumentally that what started off as a nice idea falls completely flat at best or disgruntles your entire workforce at worst!

Let’s face it, having an employer that gives a damn is a very nice thing! It should not be expected as a fundamental right, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

It comes down to managing expectations and then delivering on those expectations.

Employee rewards and recognition best practices can be difficult to understand, with so many conflicting bits of advice out there, but if done right they can really work.

I think if I had only one bit of advice to give, it would be this:

Treat your employees as human beings.

If you have promised something, deliver it! It doesn’t have to be expensive, sometimes just say thank you. Don’t trick them or put in place unexpected gotcha’s…yep, looking at you, points schemes…you never quite have enough.

At Loyalty Bay, we try to make giving as easy as possible. We offer the ability to send a huge range of gift cards that can be redeemed in real time. Employers can see what is popular and track open rates and engagement. Employees can get something tangible, that they will appreciate with no catches.

According to Dank Pink, autonomy, mastery and purpose are the key to a happy workforce, and I totally agree.

However, every now and then, it’s nice to give a gift and say thank you.

About the Author :

Founder, Director of Product and Marketing at Loyalty Bay. I’m tasked with creating global scalable products and building out the Product and Marketing teams, now that we are part of Perkbox.

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