How to make the most of your reward and recognition programme with instant e-codes
Whether you need to get new hires quickly up to speed on organisational values and operational practice, or are trying to remind long-term employees that you value their contribution, instant rewards such as e-codes are a really effective reward mechanism that enable organisations to provide a timely reward that encourages and reinforces desired behaviours.
E-codes should be part of a broader strategy for rewarding and recognising your workforce, which not only takes into account what appeals to different demographics, but also offers choice to employees. They can be an effective component of your reward and recognition programme - so here are some top tips to make the most of them.
Ensure e-codes are relevant and personalised
E-codes are an efficient and cost-effective means of rewarding employees, but they must be linked to products or services that individual employees will find interesting and valuable. They can be presented as a gift to an employee in a personalised greetings card or sent within a personalised ‘thank you’ email containing a digital code to redeem, cutting out postage costs.
Choosing e-codes that can be redeemed at a wide range of retailers is also a very simple way of making sure that rewards remain relevant - rather than having to fret about what each and every employee might want, running the risk of giving them the wrong thing, flexible e-codes for multi-retailers give people amazing freedom and choice.
Position e-codes as a treat for the employee
E-codes can be a good way of treating employees who are spending a lot of their money on friends and family - particularly in the runup to holidays, such as Christmas. or in the summer. E-codes can be sent separate to an employees’ salary, encouraging them to treat themselves, and find more value in the reward.
Giving the same amount as a bonus as part of an employee's salary, on the other hand, is likely to see the reward get swallowed up in the usual day-to-day costs - bills, groceries, public transport. Make sure there's a bit of fanfare, and encourage employees to spend their code on something they love. The experience they have as a result will all be tied to you - fantastic for boosting employee engagement.
Consider a non-digital, non-online alternative
Although it's rare that people don't have internet access these days, there's always a chance that people may not - so it might be best to consider a non-digital alternative such as traditional retail money-off coupons, gift cards or prepaid cards.
This is a particularly good idea in environments where people don't have access to a computer all day, where you really can't be sure whether people can get online with ease or not. It takes away a bit of the instant gratitude, sure, but it means everyone can enjoy the same rewards. Gift cards and vouchers can be bought in bulk, too, meaning you can store plenty for on-the-spot rewards, keeping some of the spontaneity alive.
Assess the impact of e-code rewards regularly
Firstly, check that your employees are actually redeeming e-codes – this should be easy to track through a digital platform. If employees are not even redeeming the codes and swapping them for goods and services, it's clear that the e-codes are having zero motivational effect.
Assuming employees are redeeming e-codes, start out with a clear definition of what you expect e-code rewards to achieve so that you can measure how successful they are. For example, if the plan is to award e-codes when employees achieve a certain number of sales in order to drive more sales, it is vital to check whether sales totals are continuing to increase.
If e-codes aren't working, you may need to change your approach. Are you giving small rewards often, or larger rewards less frequently? The former may see people receiving codes too small to bother with, so perhaps try switching to the latter. We've already mentioned the benefits of multi-retailer codes - switching to these could also encourage redemption.
Keep your e-code offer fresh
Don't wait for the analysis of your data to reveal that your e-codes initiative has lost its impact – rather, plan ahead and keep offers fresh. Regularly swapping in different e-codes, offering codes for different retailers’ websites, or for experiences such as hot air ballooning, holidays or meals out rather than for products, can help to keep interest levels high.
Organisations that successfully use e-codes for instant recognition of desired behaviours will see greater benefits. E-gifts are highly effective as a tactical reward to keep employees motivated, particularly during busy periods such as Christmas. However, permanent employees are for life, not just for Christmas – for these employees it's vital to see e-codes as just one tool in your benefits, rewards and recognition armoury.
Get the mix of strategic and tactical rewards and recognition right, and the benefits to your organisation will include an engaged and stable workforce, putting the organisation in a good position to strive effectively in a competitive marketplace.