Let’s face it, we all like to be acknowledged for the effort we put into our work. Not only does a pat on the back make people feel appreciated, but it also makes us want to go that extra mile. In fact, a report by McKinsey has shown that being recognised in the workplace increases effectiveness by over 20% and can improve overall company engagement by over 50%.

Keeping staff happy results in less staff turnover and does wonders in attracting talent, but it also ensures that customers are looked after. Employees that have high job satisfaction and feel valued will be more likely to provide customers with good customer service. Investing in your workforce and ensuring they are motivated and content means, in turn, you are also investing in your customers. But, whether it’s a reward for long service, a thank you for a particular task or a gift ahead of maternity leave, there is one option that is always going to come out on top.

It’s all about choice

In the post-pandemic workforce, many employees are expressing an interest in tailored rewards that are aligned with their personal hobbies and interests. However, these interests stretch far and wide, with our research identifying more than 150 hobbies as common interests across various age groups spanning everything from board games and baking to music-making. Incentives and rewards are great motivators but get it wrong, and it can leave employees feeling misunderstood or even offended. This is where it gets difficult. A company of 20 would find it near-impossible to cater to everyone’s needs, let alone a business of 100 or more. So how can employers offer all staff rewards that not only make people feel valued, but gives them choice over how to use their reward? The answer is gift cards.

Whether an employee is an avid cyclist, a foodie fan or an early adopter of technology, rewarding staff with gift cards, especially one that provides access to multiple retailers, is a great way to ensure all tastes and lifestyles are catered to. Multi-brand gift cards, such as One4All, offer access to hundreds of brands, making it easy for employees to choose whatever they want or need.

Why not cash?

Giving cash offers a choice for the recipient, but there are financial advantages that come with gift cards. For amounts £50 and under, the Government offers tax relief called the HMRC Trivial Benefit. Gift cards qualify, whereas cash doesn’t, so businesses can give an employee a small gift without having to pay tax or national insurance on it. Moreover, employees often prefer receiving gift cards over cash as cash rewards can be associated with additional compensation and can easily disappear into the family budget. This begins to take away from the positive feeling of being recognised for performance, whereas when rewarding someone with a gift card, you’re giving that person the opportunity to create memorable experiences and treat themselves to something they might not have previously purchased.

At Blackhawk Network, we would always recommend giving little and often. Not just because of the tax benefits but also because it helps maintain motivation throughout the whole year.

The last year has been a difficult one for employees. Whether it’s been introducing social distancing measures in the workplace or having to work from home, everyone has been impacted by the pandemic. Motivation has therefore been at an all-time low, and it’s been a huge task for employers to keep morale high – especially when many have struggled financially. This is why gift cards are a fantastic, cost-effective way to reward and incentivise staff.

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