Gift Cards Remain a Top Incentive Item

Survey: Gift Cards Remain A Top Incentive Item
The majority of U.S. businesses use gift cards to reward employees, company partners and customers, spending $22.7 billion annually, according to a new study released by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF). Data shows 59% of U.S. companies employ non-cash award programs and 52% use gift cards, frequently incentivizing staff members.

“The economy over the past years has affected many things, but the research confirms that the use of gift cards in business is still very strong,” said Betty Weinkle, past president of the Incentive Gift Card Council. “We find that the convenience, variety and desirability of gift cards contribute to their ability to motivate, reward and recognize.”

Open prepaid cards (which can be used almost anywhere) and closed-loop cards (which are accepted by one vendor) are much more often used by businesses than restricted and virtual cards. About 70% use open cards, 54% use closed-loop, 14% use virtual and 12% use restricted cards, according to survey data. Large businesses are more likely to use a card provider that delivers different types of cards, while smaller firms are more likely to go directly to retailers for card purchases.

Survey respondents expect their future business spending on gift cards will either remain the same or increase, the IRF report said.

For More information on Gift Programs On-Line or Gift Booklet give CEShoppes® a call today 888.249.0420

**Republished from ASICentral.com / Promogram

5 Quick Ideas to Recognize and Reward Employees

According to a Maritz Research study, employees who participate in creative recognition programs at work are five times more likely to feel valued, 11 times more likely to feel committed and seven times more likely to stay in their jobs. Here are some great ideas you can try:

1.Verbalize It: Give your employees the thanks and appreciation they deserve by telling them how much you appreciate them verbally. Saying things like "great job" and "outstanding performance" can go a long way to boost productivity, especially if said in front of their peers.

2.Find time to say "Hello" to your employees: Look at your employees while talking to them, not through them when you pass them in the hall. By actually taking time to acknowledge them, ask how things are going and really listen to them will make employees feel more appreciated, and more respected.

3.Do something Unexpected and Fun: Take a Friday afternoon off to take the entire office bowling, or have an unexpected indoor "pool party." Spread sand around, play Caribbean music, spread out beach chairs and give employees logo beach towels and sun visors.

4. Send High Performers Back to School: Recognize key players by offering them in-house training, off-site seminars and college courses, advanced degree programs, certification courses, peer counseling sessions and advanced management training.

5.Use Scrapbooks to make a Retirement Memorable: Everyone can get in on the fun of gathering photos and memories, including customers or association members. Put it all in a large scrapbook and give it to the retiree or outgoing association President at a celebratory event as a special memento. Get creative and add captions and colorful paper.

Ideas from Ken Lloyd, an organizational behavior consultant and author of 151 Quick Ideas To Recognize And Reward Employees.

Celebrate Life’s Moments

Sometimes we forget in these “tighten the purse strings” times that life is still going on around us. There are birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate, safe work practices to reward and employees retiring.  Just as in death, life around us still continues and it is more important than ever before to recognize the individuals in our lives, employees, clients, family and friends who help us become who we are, increase our business and keep our heads above water.

Today, I got a “twitter” from a long time business coach. He just returned from a NYC tradeshow speaking engagement for our industry. Here is his “Tweet”: - Just got back from New York City & saw no signs of a recession. Restaurants were packed. People spending money and having fun. Where’s CNN?

The point is that too many of us are caught up in the bad press. We need to celebrate the moments that matter most to us. – Over the next couple of posts, I am going to talk about the different ways you can celebrate the moments with those that mean the most to you- whether it be your employees, your clients or your family.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to say “Happy Birthday!” – In our office we celebrate birthdays with lunch brought in from a local restaurant or pizza. I am not talking about a catered lunch, I am talking about passing around a menu and asking what each person would like and having our receptionist go out and pick it up. We take the next 45 minutes to an hour celebrating the birthday. The company usually gives a $25 gift card to a local restaurant, the movies or from our own Select-A-Gift program (Over 80 choices of brand name gifts per dollar category) and my favorite Lindt truffles in a gift bag filled with tissue. Everyone in the office gets to participate in the birthday celebration, and the person whose birthday it is, is made to feel special. 

In my next post, we will talk more about Select-A-Gift and how it can help you increase moral, build a safer team or say thank you.