How to Make Instant Recognition an Employee Benefit

Most of us who work for a living know that being valued by an employer is one of the keys to happiness while at work. There is nothing worse than trudging into your job each morning to a well-meaning, but over-worked manager who, for whatever reason, neglects to value your hard work or effort.

That oversight on the part of managers can lead to less-than-happy teams, and failure is sure to follow quickly behind. And in a 24-7 world where the lines between personal time and work time are becoming increasingly blurred, rewarding employees for innovative ideas, positive attitudes, and bottom line-enhancing initiatives is becoming more important than ever.

Incentives of any kind—but especially those that are performance-related—can improve employee performance and enhance your bottom line. Whether rewarding a team for going above and beyond to meet a goal, achieving some organizational metric, or rewarding an individual for their dedication to a project, incentives and rewards can go a long way towards making your employees feel valued, increasing individual work satisfaction, decreasing turnover, and ultimately enhancing overall revenue.

And there is endless research across the globe that notes that a happy workforce is a healthier one. Individuals are more productive and take less sick days if they are happy1.

Rewarding with Virtual Gift Cards

As an employee of First Data I can attest to the benefits of an employee incentive program. First Data’s employee incentive program is robust, encouraging both coworkers and managers to reward employees for going above and beyond. Managers can award employees with “points,” and employees can redeem those points earned for rewards.

Late last year the program added virtual gift cards to its redemption options, and the change was an immediate success: over 36% of employees chose to redeem their “points” with instant virtual gift cards within three months of the start of the program.

But why did First Data choose virtual rewards over some other distribution method? The bottom line is that virtual prepaid gift card rewards significantly enhanced the element of convenience for the employer and the employee.

Benefits for Employers

Virtual prepaid rewards enable employers to streamline the process by which they can issue reward employees. Rewards can be sent in real-time and redeemed instantly, ensuring the employee is immediately acknowledged for going above and beyond. And virtual rewards are an easy way to build an employee incentive program at a lower cost and with a short lead time.

In addition to the added convenience, there are a number of other benefits, both internal and external, to implementing a virtual prepaid rewards program.

Internally, a robust and well-run program can increase employee motivation, morale, and loyalty, as well as increase satisfaction during tough times or business turbulence. It can also act as an incentive for employees achieving targets, build team morale by creating team-based goals and corresponding rewards, and benefit your business indirectly by incentivizing some cost-cutting behavior, like rewarding employees for healthy behaviors that might reduce healthcare costs.

In addition, a robust employee rewards program could be a valuable recruiting tool, lending credence to your internal company culture while assisting you in drawing the best talent to your team.

Benefits for Employees

For the employee, a virtual prepaid gift card provides greater flexibility and allows them to choose a reward that has the most value to them personally. According to Incentives Magazine eight out of ten employees prefer gift cards to any other type of incentive2. So by offering gift cards you are ensuring that the employee will be satisfied with the reward for their efforts.

The Bottom Line

No matter where you stand, when it comes to rewarding employees, there isn’t a better way to do so than with the implementation of a virtual prepaid rewards program. Whether it’s the added convenience for employers, the enhanced flexibility and choice for employees, or the improved morale and performance for the company as a whole, taking time to incentivize, acknowledge, and reward behaviors that benefit your company is an idea that everyone, no matter who you are, can get behind.

To learn more about First Data’s Virtual Prepaid Rewards program, visit our VPS page.



Euphemia L. B. Erikson is a Director of Product Marketing for prepaid, closed-loop gift cards at First Data, working on thought leadership and B2B marketing for gift cards to large retailers and SMBs, as well as Gyft, First Data’s mobile gift card app solution. You can find her on Twitter @likeseuphe.