Corporate prepaid gift cards are becoming more and more popular as a way to incentivize employees in large organizations. This is not surprising when one realizes that there are many benefits to these little pieces of plastic. Ok, they may not be as much fun as a “Grand Am,” but they are likely to have fewer expenses attached to them, and be able to be classified as “pure fun.”
In other words, there is a better ROI (return on investment) when looking at the cost of the incentive as compared to the fun, joy, and appeal it gives to the employee, in return.
Some of the benefits that come to mind when considering a prepaid card are listed below and include the obvious, like the fact that they are practically usable anywhere that cash works, and they have the advantage (like cash) of being instantaneously usable.
The cards are customizable, allowing for that reminder of just whom it is that is providing the gift card (a little “free” advertising and branding).
Now, for that list of creative ways to use these cards as recognition and incentive(s) for your valued employees (and ultimately, your company, as the giver of the reward or incentive).
Idea #1: Use Prepaid Cards as Corporate Awards.
Many different awards can be given out in corporations. However, there is almost no award that receives the level of appreciation that this prepaid gift card does. Why? It is because as pretty as the card may be with all the color and designer graphics, at the end of the day, it is cold hard cash! This is something that can be given easily with corporate prepaid cards.
Ok, some of you are probably saying that that trip to Cancun is more fun than a card, or winning the card (for those really “loaded” corporations). However, that does not mean that the prepaid card is out of the game. Simply add it to the game! Find a card that works with the trip to Cancun.
Not only does the office win the trip, but these top ten winners get a gift card to Macy’s or Tiffany’s to augment their wardrobe and jewelry before they leave for the trip! Maybe the guys need a new flashy wallet for that ritzy trip or cruise!
Idea #2: Use Prepaid Cards with Competitions.
Competitions can be vital in organizations, especially when sales are involved. This will help sales teams work hard with friendly competition in mind. Anyone loves extra cash, and corporate prepaid cards are a great way to reward individuals who win these competitions. In fact, there are some great ideas on how to mix it up a bit with the competition, in the paragraph above on adding some “extras” for those who win the competitions.
Idea #3: Reward Employees During the Holidays.
Any holiday is a great time to reward your employees. The suggestions for the use of corporate prepaid cards for use of Holiday gifts, summer vacation money, and more. This is a great way to show your employees that you care about them when it matters the most.
Also, often, when companies are a little low on their budget and previously provided generous holiday bonuses, they may find themselves in a predicament when that level of success is not available during this holiday season. Prepaid gift cards are a great way to say, “We care!” even though the large bonus checks are not available that year.
As long as it is not motivated by greed (so the CEO can use the bonus money to run off and buy a small island in the Pacific Ocean), it will likely work. Generally, employees know when it has not been a “good year” and may even be expecting that there will be nothing for them during the holiday season. So, a modest prepaid card is just the right touch to say, “We DO care, in spite of the tough year for the company!”
Idea #4: Use the Prepaid Card as a Hiring Bonus.
When you are trying to get a top individual on your team, you sometimes need to sweeten the deal. Granted, offering them a $50,000 sign-on bonus may do the trick, but many times that amount of money is not available, even for the most top individual at the top of whatever “top list” is being considered.
A corporate prepaid card could be an amazing way to entice someone to come and work for your corporation. Hey, think about it. If you are up against another company offering the same person a similar job and your benefits are close, your location is close; everything is close… that $50 or $100 prepaid card may just tip the scale in your favor and did it cost that much to your bottom line?
True story: A rural school district (don’t want to embarrass them by mentioning the WHO)offered a $50K sign-on bonus when they meant to offer $5k. Needless to say, the ad got many clicks (especially when that teacher salary was less than the bonus sign-on)! Was it time for a new data entry person or new reporter/blogger? Honest mistake, eh?
Idea #5: Start the Corporate Cocktail Parties with a Bang (a Gift Card)!
At the corporate parties, get the party going by handing out gifts. What better way than using those corporate prepaid cards? They make a great gift. They are inexpensive. Moreover, what could be easier to hand out, in bulk (and yet classy) at a Corporate Cocktail Party?
BTW – Even as the messenger “girl” or messenger “boy,” you will be remembered and remembered well, handing out your boss’s money. You might even get a date out of it!
Idea #6: Reward the Top Executives.
The top executives in your organization work the hardest for the team, don’t they? If they do not, they would like you to believe that, right? So, here is the chance to let them know you think they are the best (i.e. kiss-up) or reward them for a job that truly is “well done.”
It is not a bad idea, either, to give the gift card as a department or team and give it along with a night out (i.e. dinner) and flowers for the spouse (yes, even the guys). Maybe the spouse has desired this for some time, and you just saved the day (and the marriage/relationship). That will not be easy for the top executive to forget tomorrow. Another application of a similar scenario is the top executive’s anniversary at the company. There are many ways to give the right people the right attention (regardless of the intention).
Idea #7: Fitness Matters! Reward Your Staff for Staying Fit.
Anyone knows that a fit individual is a productive individual. You can reward your employees for going to the gym and staying healthy with these corporate prepaid cards. If your company already has the benefit of the gym, you can add the QR code to the member or employee badge and log the time that they spend at the gym.
Alternately, you could use the honor system and have the employees log how they are getting and staying healthy. Another fun way to do it is to use a program (which works with mobile devices, too) like myfitnesspal.com.
Programs like myfitnesspal allow the opportunity to join the fitness site’s social network (a.k.a. fitness buddies) and tie into technology devices like FitBit, which will also log the miles that one walks within the company from floor to floor (think of those stairs – you are getting fitter with just the thought!). The program comes complete with a database of foods, making it easier to log what one ate at each meal (on your smart device, right at the restaurant!).
The competition could be on the amount of exercise, weight loss, calories eaten, measurements of body parts (i.e. waist, etc.), or the amount of improved health. Pretty soon, the prepaid card award will not matter as much as the spirit of competition and the result is healthy employees who are more productive!
Keep in mind, too that the social networking that is integral in the app (most fitness apps) allows for the opportunity to encourage each other and help the company, as a whole, to be that much fitter!
Idea #8: Surprise your Employees on a Monday!
Mondays can sometimes be a hard day to get that momentum and keep it going. Find some of your employees who have been setting an excellent example and doing an exceptional job at getting that Momentum Monday and surprise them with a gift card! When? On a Monday, of course.
This will have several benefits for the company. It will encourage the employee that they have had the right idea all along. It will get other employees thinking, “Hmmm. If I demonstrate more energy and wittiness on Monday, maybe…” and it will get the employees’ week off to the right start.
Others around that glee-filled employee cannot help but catch some of that fun, and it gets their week started out right, too, by something called “proximity.“
Idea #9: Send Prepaid Cards to their Home > Great Publicity Move!
When an employee gets a letter from their job, they will immediately open it due the importance of the letter. Unfortunately, they may think it is a “pink slip” (notice of firing). So, imagine the surprise and the excitement when they see that it is a prepaid corporate gift card instead of a plain old letter (or worse yet, a pink slip)?
Let’s go further with this… Sometimes, employees are part of a small community. This could be a small town, a big church (where everyone attends), a one-school community, a place where all of the employees’ children attend an elite private school, a tight-knit gossip chain… get the idea?
What happens when a gift card arrives, and the wife thinks the husband works for the absolute best company ever to have existed? What if the shoe is on the other foot and the husband thinks his wife works at the best company (and maybe he should switch jobs)?
What if the kids overhear and now they are going out to dinner “on the company” and it is their favorite high-priced, posh (but kid-friendly) restaurant? You can guarantee that a happy family cannot help but discuss how wonderful a generous company is (especially if it also offers the opportunity to see and be seen!)
It may only cost the company $50 to $100 for the card, but the PR (public relations) result? Simply priceless and potentially exponential (depending on how one plays the game).
Idea #10: Award your Employees in Front of Others (PR Opp?)
Recognition is almost just as important as the award itself. This is very true, especially when bringing psychology into the mix. This is why it is important to make sure that the awarding of the employees is happening in front of his or her peers (and in front of “big wigs” whenever possible!).
Let’s take this a step further. Why not do it bigger and better? What about a press conference for something the employee ha discovered or saved? Great opportunity to nestle that prepaid card in a manly or womanly plant arrangement (i.e. flowers, cactus arrangement, etc.).
Then, incorporate it into a press conference on how this employee saved the day for
- the community
- the company
- a little elderly lady
- the local school
- the underprivileged
- the list goes on and on, with “community helps” ideas.
This provides opportunities for the employee to earn attention for the company, as well as him or herself, along with that almost-cost-the-company-nothing prepaid card. The ROI (return on investment) has far exceeded any initial costs.
That is only ten ideas. What other ten ideas could one add to the list? Do you see some themes emerging here? Some of them include publicity opportunities, employee satisfaction, employee retention, employee motivation, keeping them on their toes, getting some positive mentions in the news… just to name a few. So, you see, it is not just about the cards, but they are a great place to start, wouldn’t one say?
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