Employee EngagementRecognition & Rewards

Cards on the Table

Technology frees your top talent to find new opportunities. Here’s one idea to keep them on board.
By David Jones
In a recent survey by Right Management, more than half of U.S. employers reported having lost a significant portion of their top talent in the first half of this year. The exodus, experts say, is not uncommon in the wake of a recession, but it might be more prevalent this time around. Why? Because technological advances have made it easier for workers to change jobs without the hassle of relocating, essentially opening up worldwide employment opportunities.
Employee engagement is critical to retaining the talent that is needed to help rebound from an economic downturn. But with corporate budgets still in a squeeze, companies of all sizes are looking for sincere and creative ways to reward employees for hard work. And they want to achieve that without excessive spending on desktop trinkets and other swag that mostly just collects dust.
“You can only have so much stuff sitting around on your desk,” says Jennifer Thornton, executive director of the Chesapeake (MD) Human Resources Association (CHRA), a local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management serving nearly 700 members. “Who needs all those gadgets? They just get lost in the fray.”
Like many employers, nonprofits such as CHRA are struggling with both membership retention and engagement issues. In order to help build loyalty, the association has begun distributing pre-paid, branded corporate reward cards as a method of recognizing volunteers who have donated their time and efforts to the association. During the past two years, CHRA has used IncentiveCardLab.com to create and distribute approximately 75 cards each year. Thornton says the cards are quite popular with recipients.
“We mail them out with a note of thanks, and I’ve received many notes back from recipients telling us how much they appreciated being recognized with a reward they can really use,” she says.
In addition to showing appreciation, the branded reward cards offer an affordable way to promote the organization by having the cards custom-designed with the CHRA logo. Thornton says they could have gone to a local retailer and purchased standard Visa® or American Express® cards, but would still have paid a few bucks more than the value of the card to have it activated. With IncentiveCardLab.com, the organization gets the benefit of personalized cards that “wow” recipients with a unique and valuable reward.
 “They make it easy to upload our logo and create the cards when we need them,” she says. “When I’ve called with questions, they’ve been very responsive to our needs.”
With price points to meet virtually any budget, IncentiveCardLab.com offers cards in any quantity and denomination from $5 to $2500. Customized cards can be delivered in as few as two business days, either directly to the recipient or to the company or organization for hand delivery.
The cards are ideal for employers to recognize achievements, special days, and even as a creative alternative to holiday bonuses or gifts. In addition to the convenience, ease, and the branding benefits, the cards offer recipients the flexibility to enjoy their accolades in virtually any way they choose: a special dinner out with friends and family, shopping for the latest electronic gadget, or even taking care of basic necessities such as gas and groceries. Because they are redeemable anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted, they provide an all-purpose corporate incentive reward that is sure to please any employee—and one that never goes out of style.
Unlike “off the shelf” cards, customized incentive cards that carry the company’s brand message and/or logo remind the employee of the reward each time it is used. As an added bonus, the cards also spread the brand message to every venue in which they are used.
Rewarding employees for their achievements and hard work is vital to maintaining morale, engagement, and loyalty—and that is especially true in a challenging economy. By showing employees the organization’s appreciation for their hard work and their value as a critical member of the organizational team, companies can help stem the tide of employee exodus while also maintaining a stronger recovery position as the economy rebounds.  
David S. Jones is CEO of CardLab, Corp.


Tags: Engaged Workforce, HRO Today Global, Performance Management Rewards

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