Archive for the 'gift card awards' Category

03 18th, 2016

Elec gc

If you want to motivate or recognize the performance of millennials, give them a choice of gift cards.

Recent research conducted by NPD Group and the Wharton School finds that gift cards are particularly popular with the younger generation.  It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that this group is “wired”, they grew up online, are connected always through various devices, and when they shop they prefer to use gift cards, and specifically electronic gift cards.

While various groups can agree or disagree on traditional vs electronic gift cards, in general, most of the younger age groups, and even many Boomers, prefer general purpose bank cards vs specific store cards because they can be used almost anywhere.  Unfortunately, from the perspective of a buyer of employee recognition programs, these bank cards can charge purchase fees from $3.95 to $6.95 per card.  And, as the vast majority of gift cards used in recognition programs are valued at $25, these fees can amount to an additional 15% to 30% added to your budget.

When faced with this choice, buyers often consider using one of several gift card solutions that are available in the incentive industry.  These solutions allow them to award one card or certificate that can then be redeemed for large array of popular gift cards.  Many of these solutions also contain a fee per card, but there is one that doesn’t…the Award of Choice.

gift cards2

According to recent research on gift cards published by Incentive Magazine 97.6% of all incentive users reporting felt that gift cards were effective, very effective or extremely effective.  Actual research results were:

The diversity of today’s workforce demands something different from the same traditional merchandise awards that were used for their parents and grandparents.

Total Effectiveness of Gift Cards as Employee Awards  

% of Responses

Effective 17.6%
Very Effective 48.85%
Extremely Effective 31.2%

By any measure, gift cards are the most effective recognition award for two simple reasons:

  • They provide the greatest choice and value for the award winner
  • Unquestionably they give the client the most cost effective means to recognize performance

01 5th, 2016

gift card generic

Gift cards as we know them started in the early 1980’s and actually started to be used in employee award programs only a few years after that.

The development of the gift card has been a blessing for anyone who wants to award and recognize employees.  If you think you can find the perfect award that fits every employee you can’t. Unless you only have a handful of employees, you won’t know each of them well enough to offer an award that suits them, at that time.

Employee award gift cards have grown in popularity faster than anything else in the award industry.  In the retail world the growth has been exponential.  In 2004 we spent $20 billion in gift cards and that has grown to over $100 billion annually.  Today it is hard to find company that doesn’t use gift cards somewhere in their recognition mix.

Gift cards have gone from being considered impersonal gifts to being the most thoughtful gift of all. The gift card is a sign of the times – tastes change quickly, options should remain open, and when you use gift cards for employee awards, you’ll always be giving them the award that they want.

Research shows that:

  • 93% of U.S. consumers purchase or receive a gift card annually
  • Consumers spend an average of $213/year on gift cards
  • 83% of corporations use gift & prepaid cards for employee incentives

Please let us know if you would like some strategies for including gift cards within your employee recognition or years of service programs.


     oc tanner

  taj mahal

One of the buildings above is the Taj Mahal, the other is the corporate headquarters of the largest employee Years of Service award company in the industry.

Believe it or not, the latest market research conducted by Incentive Magazine showed that close to 40% of all Years of Service programs use gift cards as some of their award options.

It wasn’t too long ago that you would never see gift cards in employee anniversary programs for several reasons.  First, the major recognition companies spent millions of dollars marketing their traditional awards such as company identified jewelry items, crystal, clocks, watches and the like.  Second they used very sophisticated training programs for their salesforces as well as for clients building a mystique that only deluxe trophy type merchandise would be proper to recognize an employee who remained at a company for a period of time usually in 5 year cycles  starting at 1, 3, or 5 years.  And lastly, they created excellent software platforms that made is very easy for a client to purchase a turnkey employee service award program.

So what changed?  How did gift cards start to become an option in these programs?  It certainly wasn’t because the companies that specialized in gift card systems spent millions in advertising, or marketing or a sales force that was trained to call on the clients. And it wasn’t because they built sophisticated electronic platforms to implement them.  It came about because clients were getting tired of paying very hefty premiums over retail price and employees were asking for more choice and a better value.

With the age of the internet anyone could do a quick search to determine the value of an award, it didn’t take long for the employees to ask why the award that they understood cost $250 or $500 actually had a value of only $125 or $250.  That was the rule rather than the exception.

Gift cards are a part of Years of Service programs because it gives your employees what they want without incremental cost to you.  If you are going to spend $250 or $500 on an award, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure that your employee receives as much of that budget as possible?  The traditional recognition companies will fight long and hard to keep you from putting gift cards in program.  They know that once in, they will lose prized profit dollars year after year.  But do you really want to support their Taj Mahal corporate offices at the expense of your employees?

If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.


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.”