The wonder of digital rewards: drivers of change in reward strategy

It has been established beyond any reasonable doubt that happy employees are both more productive and loyal than unhappy ones.


Yet investment by employers in employee wellbeing and engagement via perks and benefits is often perceived as a costly, non-critical "nice-to-have" rather than an intrinsic tool for incentivising, retaining and recruiting talent.

This is at odds with most research already in the public domain which indicates that it's the non-financial factors that come with reward and recognition that engage and retain workers in the long run. 

Quite simply, happy teams accomplish great things - but is your employee reward programme fit for purpose?

Our need for instant gratification

In the technology-driven world we live in today, people have increasingly high expectations of their daily interactions, be that as a consumer or as an employee. Tolerance levels for a slow or bad user experience are increasingly low. A positive experience, by contrast, acts as the ultimate motivator.

Just as we gain constant, instant feedback and validation from our devices and social media in almost real-time because we're permanently plugged in and turned on, we have the same expectations of reward in the workplace.

Employees therefore expect their employers to be on top of the latest digital developments and to be tech savvy enough to deliver an employee experience that matches the rest of their 21st Century lifestyle.

Recognition is more important than ever

When it comes to engagement and retention, nothing is as effective as a well-considered, meaningful reward from a manager in recognition of a job well done. Yet our research shows that currently, almost half (43%) of UK employees feel undervalued and unrecognised at work.

This challenge needs to be met head-on by employers, while taking into account the fact that any modern workforce is likely to constitute a varied mix of people with different preferences and priorities.

Digital rewards enable you to maximise appreciation among employees by giving them access to a wider range of rewards and incentives - including instant eGift cards, gift cards vouchers, travel, and experience days - without any of the administrative burden usually associated with a more complex recognition programme.

In addition, new technologies help to make your offer appealing and accessible anytime, anywhere. Ensure that all the touchpoints of your reward programme are designed and delivered in a way that provides choice so that each member of your team can engage with it in the way that suits them best.

Encouraging brand loyalty

Use your reward strategy to maximum effect by extending the reach of your employer brand.

For example, fully customisable email templates designed according to your own brand guidelines and look and feel, will get your employees' attention by reinforcing your brand and corporate standards, thereby increasing loyalty. Digital reward enables you to do this at the simple touch of a few buttons.

But keep in mind that nothing can replace the personal touch from a manager - research shows that an email directly from their manager makes employees happiest. Include a personal thank you and your reward can't fail to make an impact.

Simplifying matters

Think about the reward experience being a positive one for both the giver as much as for the receiver.

Digital systems that integrate seamlessly into existing reward mechanics and that can be managed from one central point - regardless of the complexity of the different branding and messaging - will simplify the administration process as well as increase engagement by the recipient.

Instant delivery of the reward by email with redemption options that are fast and easy will satisfy your employees' need for instant gratification, while real-time visibility of redemption activity will allow for optimisation of the scheme over time to suit the individual needs of your workforce.

Download Edenred's guide to Digital Reward here. 

Andy Philpott is marketing and sales director at Edenred UK.

This article was provided by Edenred.

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