Choosing the right gift card for a safety incentives program

I'd like to use gift cards as incentives for our safety program. How do I decide which cards will benefit my employees the most, and what level of budget I'll need to cover them?

Answered by Robin Ronayne, gift card marketing lead, Best Buy, Minneapolis, MN.

If their growing popularity is any indication, gift cards are a great choice for rewarding and motivating your employees. The National Retail Federation in Washington reported that gift card purchases this past holiday exceeded NRF's own forecasts, rising to an unprecedented $27.8 billion in sales. Interestingly, NRF also observed that gift cards are now purchased year-round – clear evidence that givers and receivers alike find genuine value in these cards for many occasions.

That suggests your employees will appreciate both the freedom of choice and personal meaning that a gift card delivers. Some of our clients tell us their employees collect gift cards by meeting safety goals over time, enabling them to make a large purchase.

In fact, gift cards as an incentive are proven to reduce accident incident rates by making safety fun, keeping compliance top of mind while creating enthusiasm and boosting morale. To achieve these benefits for your program, it's important that the gift card you choose offers maximum advantages to your employees and meets your budget parameters.

Here are some guidelines for making a gift card selection that benefits your employees and your incentive program:

  • Cache – With so many companies offering gift cards today, it can be difficult to determine which card will deliver the levels of compliance and enthusiasm you're looking to foster in your employees. Choose a gift card that employees will view as a special reward because it gets them products they want from a retailer they like.
  • Cost (to you and your employees) – Be sure to avoid dormancy or maintenance fees for the cards you purchase for your incentive program. Some companies charge an additional fee just to purchase their cards, and some cards lose value if they go unredeemed for a period of time. That's an unnecessary hit that your budget shouldn't be expected to take. Worse yet, it can cause disappointment for the employees you want to recognize and reward.
  • Choice – Look for flexibility in face value instead of required dollar amounts or minimum purchase requirements. Think about flexibility in terms of purchase options, too. Choose cards that can be used both in stores and online, so your employees have the convenience of shopping 24 hours a day.
You know how important it is to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of your employees – and there's no better way to reward them than with a gift card. Follow these tips, and you can help ensure that it delivers special rewards to them – and to you.

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