Archive for the 'gift card awards' Category

06 18th, 2013

carrot stick

In a recent newsletter, World at Work, the Total Rewards Association, discussed some interesting results of a national survey of employer views on the use of employee health incentives.  The research was conducted by the Midwest Business Group on Health in April of 2013.  Highlights of the findings are as follows:

  • 82% of the companies had some form of incentives or disincentive s in place
  • There is a growing interest in outcomes-based incentives (achieving targeted biometric goals)
  • Most employers determined that incentives were necessary to get employees to participate

“Our national survey found over 80% of responding employers are using some form of incentives, with 41% using or planning to use outcomes-based incentive to increase engagement and participation in employer-sponsored programs.”  Larry Bores President MBGH

  • 13% of employers responded that they are currently using outcome-based incentives, 28% are planning to launch them over the next two years and 40% indicated they were studying the issue.
  • Of those currently implementing programs, 54% tie incentives to both outcomes-based measures as well as incremental improvement to the outcomes
  • 94% of employers used onsite screening to capture biometrics and that employee feedback was overwhelmingly positive
  • Of the 18% who did not use incentives, 53% reported it was because it was not a part of their culture, and 47% were not sure it worked.
  • The main incentive awards used were reduced premiums at 62%, gift cards at 38% and some type of program merchandise at 35%.
  • Employers using disincentives increased the employee share of premium for non-compliance and 14% have higher plan deductibles or out of pocket fees.
  • The most incented activities were biometric screenings at 70% and risk assessments at 78%
  • The greatest disincentive at 78% was for tobacco use
  • 71% of the employers said their incentive programs were very successful and 45% the disincentive strategy was “very successful” or “successful.”

This last holiday season saw a record year in the purchase of gift cards.  Early reports show that about 8 in 10 consumers gave gift cards and the gift card volume approached $30 billion for the holiday.  It’s no wonder then why gift cards have been the most popular award used in the incentive and recognition award programs for the last several years. 

Many consumers purchase their gift cards at a gift card mall the offers several different cards to choose from.  These malls often include not only the closed loop cards specific to certain merchants, but also Visa or MasterCard .  Typically these malls carry an inventory of between 25 and 50 merchant cards.   

Research on gift cards late last year revealed that individual stores charge fewer fees for their branded gift cards than the all-purpose ones issued by banks.  These fees range from $2.95 to $6.95 per card. That may not seem like much until you realize that represents 12% to 27% on a $25 card, and the $25 cards just happen to be about 75% of all cards purchased on average.  In addition it was found that over 50% of the bank cards have some kind of monthly maintenance fee. The combination of these fees can approach 35-40% of a card before it is used. 

New credit card regulations do not allow banks to have expiration dates on their consumer bank card for at least 5 years.  What is not commonly known is that when used for an employee incentive or recognition program, these bank cards can have expiration dates starting as early as 3 months, with the average being 1 year.  This can create a significant loss of value. 

With the Award of Choice employee recognition card you can have your own gift card mall for your employees without the hassle of trying to procure 25-50 separate store gift cards.  And the Award of Choice card does not have any purchasing fees, monthly maintenance fees, or an expiration date.  But most importantly your employees the Award of Choice card is redeemable for over 500 of the most popular gift cards in the country.  Award of Choice is the best value and choice of any gift card system offered today.

12 18th, 2012


From all of us at

May the Christmas angel bring you a wonderful  holiday and

happy and healthy New Year.


11 27th, 2012

It’s hard to find an organization of any size that doesn’t have some form of employee recognition program, even if it’s just a years of service program.  So why don’t many of these programs work?

While there are a myriad of reasons, almost all of them written about over the last few years, this article from CBS Money Watch offers a little different perspective.  It was written by Jeff Haden an author of several books on business and investing that reached #1 on Amazon’s best seller list. He offers some advice that is pretty simple to follow yet very powerful in terms of producing results.  If you follow it you will take your employee recognition program to a new and more effective level.  Buy heeding his advice you will do more than just pay lip service to praising employees for their efforts.   

A recap of his recommendations is: 

  • See every employee as an individual.
  • Assume too soon is never soon enough.
  • Provide details that show you know what they have done.
  • Be genuine in your praise
  • Skip constructive criticism when recognizing good performance
  • Actively look for employees to praise.
  • Leverage the surprise factor.
  • Spot opportunities to share the “praise wealth.”

As mentioned, when you follow these simple steps recognizing employees will get easier over time.  You will be building a habit that feeds on itself.  When you recognize performance they will naturally perform better which will give you more achievements to recognize.

11 20th, 2012

As the holiday season rolls around we see many blog posts on the subject of gift cards.  They range from “are they good to use as gifts, not good to use as gifts, good to use in certain circumstances, good for some things, for some people”, Etc. Etc. Etc.  You can love ‘em (most folks do) or hate ‘am but they are definitely here to stay….estimated this year at over $100 billion dollars’ worth. 

Here’s a very good article published recently by the respected blog site Lifehacker.  It speaks to understanding how to get the most out of gift cards and your rights about them.  As in the past, the fact that some gift cards are never used seems to cause folks some angst.  When this question comes up there is always the obligatory mention of how many gift cards go unspent…and this year is no exception.  We saw six articles on that subject just this week.     

Some gift cards that are given as gifts go unredeemed, all or in part.  But let’s keep things in perspective.  The above article estimates the unredeemed value at approx. $2.5 billion.  But in relation to the total revenue estimated this year at over $100 billion, the unredeemed portion only amounts to about 2.5% at the most.  When you consider what the perception people have about other types of gifts, gift cards may be the best gift possible.  Here’s what another Lifehacker article had to say:

“Group payment service WePay decided to take a look at how gift-giving works and found that what you give can be worth—in the mind of the recipient, that is—up to 18% less than its actual retail value.  It gets surprisingly worse: at least one gift per person is either never opened, returned, or re-gifted. Somehow this seems to be a frequent occurrence.”

What about cash, how do people see cash as a gift?  As with gift cards there are many opinions on it one way or the other.  One way to look at cash might be how much of it goes unredeemed in all the lotteries around the country.   More than 40 states have lotteries and revenue volume is estimated to approach $60 billion in 2012.  What is rarely stated in any publication, but is common knowledge to those in the lottery business, is that some of winnings of these lotteries are never claimed.  The % of these winnings unclaimed has been estimated at up to 10%.  So, if $2.5 billion to $5 billion in lottery winnings is never claimed, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to find out that some gift cards go unredeemed.  It’s just human nature to either lose them or forget about them.  

One thing is certain; most consumers prefer store gift cards (83%) over open-looped bank gift cards.  When you give them one to a store where they don’t shop, or they have no interest in, the risk of going unredeemed goes up.  When they get one where they love to shop, the risk goes down.  

When using gift cards within your employee award strategy, this overriding principle is very important…let them have the card that they want, let them choose it themselves.  That is the governing rule behind the Award of Choice card and why it has been so successful.  Without paying anything extra, the Award of Choice gift card is redeemable for over 500 of the most popular gift cards in the country.