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Workplace recognition doesn’t need to take the form of a reward – but when it does, that reward should be personal, meaningful, and memorable. Gift cards accomplish this very effectively.


On average, you spend about eight hours a day at work, that’s half of your waking hours. You’d also like to believe that your contribution is both valued and appreciated by your employers and so a gilded certificate or a gold watch at the end of your career will not cut it anymore.

In a world where human capital leaders are calling for us to work whole-heartedly and whole-headedly, a one-size-fits-all approach to rewards is almost guaranteed to miss the mark. Some rewards will speak to the head and others will speak to the heart; by offering choice, individuals can select the reward that is most meaningful to them.

So why not cash?

Good question and one that has been ruminated over for many years. Cash certainly has its place in the rewards mix and should not be entirely discounted. There’s an old adage that says ‘always give the people what they want’, and surveys abound where respondents have cited cash as their number one desire, but there is a very important truth that cannot be overlooked. The point of a rewards program is not to give people what they say they want. It is to inspire changed behaviour, engagement and desired results.

Although there are applications when a cash reward is ‘right on the money’ (very small groups, for example) generally it is accepted that cash rewards are too broad and impersonal to be truly effective at providing a memorable and meaningful reward. Let us look at some of the other criticisms levelled against cash in contrast to non-cash rewards:

   Cash rewards    Non-cash rewards
   Cash is easily confused with compensation.    There’s no mistaking a tangible reward.
   Cash has no ‘trophy value’    Tangible rewards are something you
can brag about.
   Cash received as a reward is absorbed into a
recipient’s account and becomes part of the
family budget.
   Tangible rewards are memorable,
meaningful and motivating. When people
earn merchandise and travel, they remember
the experience.
   Cash is spent on things the recipient
   Powerful rewards are what the recipient
   Cash has a known worth.    Tangible rewards have a perceived higher
value, therefore non-cash rewards ‘cost less’
for the same effect.
   Cash always looks like cash.    Luxury items and experiences are
exciting and captivating.
   Withdrawing a cash reward appears like
a reduction in pay.
   With non-cash rewards you can make easy
adjustments when it’s time to change.

Cash are also usually short on meaningful, long-term goals. Phrases like ‘doing your best’ and ‘going above and beyond’ lack specificity and are vague at best, as far as goal setting is concerned.

So if not cash, then what?

In order to address the diverse needs of employees, rewards need to be equally diverse. In this instance, diversity refers to the multidimensional, multifaceted workforce that comprises many generations, a host of different ethnicities, diverse values, and of course various socioeconomic backgrounds. In other words, there’s a fat stack to consider before you can put the right reward in the right hands at the right time. For more on this and how to use AI to your advantage, read Understanding AI and its uses in incentives, rewards and recognition.

Designing a reward suite that is wide enough to appeal to individual employees is no mean feat. Rewards need to appeal to employees personally and emotionally. Remember, you want to create a reward experience that is personal, meaningful and memorable. Let’s consider these three reasons why gift cards fit the bill, perfectly:

1. Personal reward possibilities
A gift card comes with the promise of freedom of choice. The GET Rewards Gift Card gives the recipient access to 250 000 retail outlets in South Africa to choose from. This takes a tremendous amount of guesswork out of you having to choose the right reward in line with an individual’s tastes and interests. It’s a super-simple formula: Happiness equals rewards to the power of choice!

2. Cards make moments matter
Create a memorable experience for an employee by recognising and rewarding their efforts in the way they appreciate most. The presentation of a gift card, with the collective wish of ‘happy spending’ for a job well done, is a moment not likely to be forgotten by the employee. Need some tips on how to make moments matter? Read How to reward meaningfully: 7 tips from reward experts.

3. Cards make moments memorable
Cards allow the recipient to choose a tangible reward that has both ‘trophy value’ and is perceived as more valuable than the equivalent in cash. Travel, experiences and even high-end merchandise rewards, either chosen by or curated for the recipient, create indelible moments in life.

The GET Rewards Gift Card puts the power of choice in the hands of your employees. Packaged in an attractive card carrier to look and feel like a premium reward, it lets recipients select the rewards they desire. To have and to hold. Clearly, personalised, meaningful and memorable rewards are the way forward and clearly the GET Rewards Gift Card is the ace up your sleeve.
So now you know.

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