In the past two years, millions of workers have left their jobs to pursue other opportunities. In this job seeker's market, when employers are struggling to hold on to talent, it’s critical to evaluate your plan for rewards and recognition. Most companies give bonuses in some form for service milestones, birthdays, etc., but many don’t have an official employee rewards program. 

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The most effective rewards are timely, frequent, visible, and given for a specific reason. Giving employee rewards manually can be cumbersome, especially if you have a lot of people at your organization. If you want to see (and measure) the benefits of your employee recognition, you need a dedicated program that does the job right without adding a bigger workload.

Why do you need an employee rewards program?

Glassdoor’s Employee Appreciation Survey revealed that 81% of employees are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. If just recognizing your employees for their hard work makes them more productive, imagine how motivated they would feel if they received rewards whenever they did something outstanding or reached a milestone in their career.

Benefits of an employee rewards program

Engaged and productive employees being rewarded.An effective rewards program improves employee satisfaction, which gets you the following benefits:

  •     Increase employee engagement
  •     Reduce turnover
  •     Boost team morale
  •     Improve company culture
  •     Attract talented workers

When employees are satisfied with their job, they’re less likely to leave and more likely to work hard to achieve their company’s goals. 

Factors that affect employee productivity, engagement, & retention

If you want to make your employees happy with their job, there are several factors you can focus on in your organization to increase employee productivity, engagement, and retention. Typically, when a business experiences high turnover and low employee engagement, it’s due to the need for improvements in one or more of the following areas:

  •     Work environment
  •     Training and career development opportunities
  •     Pay structure
  •     Benefits
  •     Wellness
  •     Diversity in the workplace
  •     Perks

A solid employee recognition program can positively influence most of these factors, especially work environment and perks. It can also encourage wellness and inclusion in the workplace, depending on how you implement the program and what rewards you give.

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According to a survey by SHRM, 68% of human resources professionals said recognizing employees positively influences retention, and 56% responded that it also helps with recruitment. People want to work for companies that appreciate their hard work and give them public recognition, and they’ll reward you for it with their continuing dedication.

How to build an effective employee rewards program using gift cards

Team building an employee rewards program for the workplace.

When building your employee rewards program, the first thing you’ll have to do is justify it. It’s essential to consider the project’s goals, like positive behaviours you want to encourage and saving the company money.

The benefits of a rewards program are lower turnover, higher employee engagement, and increased productivity, but you can back these up with numbers that matter to your business. According to Gallup, replacing an employee can cost one-half to two times their salary. For example, an organization with a hundred employees and an average salary of $50,000 could spend $660,000 to $2.6 million a year in turnover costs. 

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You’ll also have to decide when to reward your employees with gift cards. It’s common to recognize employees for anniversaries, birthdays, etc., but there are many occasions for rewarding employees that you can include in your program.

Ideas for employee recognition

  •     Achievements
  •     Work anniversaries
  •     Excellent performance
  •     Exhibiting company values
  •     Teamwork

It’s best to give rewards promptly, but buying gift cards can get thrown to the wayside when you’re busy. That’s where tools like Giftbit come in handy. Giftbit allows you to automate, schedule, or send gift cards instantly to your employees, and you can track your gift card statistics to see how well your rewards program is working. 

The importance of culture and wellness in the workplace

Jobvite’s 2018 Job Seeker Nation Survey found that 35% of workers say they would pass on the perfect job if they felt the company culture wasn’t a good fit for them. Employees are more satisfied with their job when their values align with the company’s values, making them more engaged and productive at work. 

A recognition program allows you to reward your employees for demonstrating your company’s values. It reinforces your ideologies and gives your employees something worthy to support. 

Learn how to automate your reward program in just a few clicks.

You can also promote wellness with your employee rewards program by giving gift cards to health brands and incentivizing healthy habits. Prioritizing wellness within your organization can increase employee engagement and improve company culture. In its Wellness Check Up Survey, United Healthcare revealed that 56% of employees had fewer sick days because of wellness programs.

Talent acquisition: how to attract top talent and keep good hires

Woman in job interview attracted by good corporate culture.Finding ways to attract talent to your organization is a must. Job seekers will evaluate potential employers based on their culture, benefits, salary, etc., and pick the best. If you want to get their attention, you can try these strategies:

Build a great company culture

It's not as easy as it looks, but culture goes a long way. At Giftbit we have 8 Cultural Principles that we developed as a team. We weave them through our daily work. Consider taking an intentional approach to your corporate culture (and show it off!)

Offer competitive salary

Don’t just give the best negotiator a good salary. Make sure that you’re offering industry standards (or better) by using a benchmark tool like OpenComp. If you’re mindful about salary and benefits people will feel their work is fairly compensated and it can also serve to incentivize professional development to reach the next salary band.

Benefits are a must

Job seekers assume benefits come with salary. Medical, dental, parental leave, and a stipend for health-related purchases.


In addition to offering employee rewards and incentives, throw in a few work perks! Consider what makes sense for your organization. Membership to a gym or a co-working space. Host team events or offer Starbucks gift cards to help boost productivity.

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Offer a flexible workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes to the many ways of working. Some people thrive in a bustling environment, while others are more effective focussing at home. Offering flexibility in where we work is becoming standard, but also how and when. Encourage a healthy work-life balance by adopting a flexible workplace

According to Gartner’s 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43% of employees responded that flexibility in their working hours helped them be more productive. Employees have realized that they enjoy the benefits of working from home and the flexible hours, and companies that allow their employees to work from home have been more successful in hiring new people. 

Make recognition more rewarding with Giftbit

We’ve built the ultimate guide to building an employee rewards program to pass on our knowledge of how to successfully recognize and reward employees so that it makes a positive impact on your company. Giftbit makes rewarding your employees easy. You can use our software to send gift cards in bulk, allowing you to show your appreciation to all your employees in just a few clicks.

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Giftbit is a tool that makes rewarding your employees simple and effective. You can buy and send thousands of gift cards in seconds, automate your rewards, and give gift cards from the biggest brands with a marketplace on your app. Reap the benefits of employee recognition with Giftbit’s easy-to-use software.

Sign up for free and start rewarding your employees with Giftbit.

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