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Study Highlights New Trends in Employee Awards – Gift Cards Favored!

Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and the
Incentive Federation recently published a study that highlights gift cards as an employee reward preference over cash rewards. The study about incentive awards recognizes non-cash incentives as a way to control spending, while motivating employees and channel partners. The preliminary results of the study point out that employee cash incentive awards are averaging $732.00, which is triple the cost of non-cash awards. “The study validates our experience and belief that the average cost of a cash award is roughly triple that of either merchandise ($206) or gift cards ($240),” according to Incentive Federation Chairman Stephen Slagle.  “The total cost of incentives is especially important in our post-recession economy, so the data points stimulated extensive discussion around the benefits of each award type,” he explained. To read more about this study, visit
IMA’s Return On Performance. Check back with us regularly; we’ll publish a link to the full study results once they are available.

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Ramping up for Incentive “Gamification”

GiftCard Partners, we’ve been hearing a lot about how corporations are targeting gaming as a way to attract employees to workplace motivation and incentive programs. Interactive games are a fun and effective way to educate and train employees, and promote behavior changes. According to the National Training Laboratories, learners who engage with games as part of their educational process retain 75 % of the knowledge they acquire. The fun and innovative nature of games may also be key to helping companies overcome the challenges of increasing enrollment and participation in health and wellness programs, sales incentive programs, training, and workplace safety programs. The corporate gaming tipping point may not be far off. A recent Gartner study says that by 2015, 50% of companies will embrace gamification. “Gamification gets people more engaged, helps change behaviors and stimulates innovation”, Gartner said. “The applications in business include accelerating feedback cycles by incenting users to give feedback. Gamification sets clear rules and a compelling narrative for players to feel empowered at a task. And it sets up tasks that are achievable”, says
Dean Takahashi of GamesBeat. What “prizes” or rewards are utilized for gaming? Many online or computer games include token economies (points) that can be redeemed for rewards like gift cards. Gift cards continue to hold top placement as the incentive of choice with 8 out of ten employees preferring a gift card as incentive. They hold trophy value for program participants of and their flexibility allows employees to select their own rewards, creating motivation for long term engagement with the program. Gift cards like
CVS/pharmacy® and
Nutrisystem® cards are integrated into health and wellness programs, fashion gift cards like Charming Shoppes (
Lane Bryant®,
Fashion Bug®, and
Catherines®) promote professional dress in the workplace, and employers reward with Brinker gift cards (
Chili's Grill® & Bar, Romano's Macaroni Grill®, On The Border® and Maggiano’s Little Italy®) Inter-company social media will be a great vehicle for promoting games. Check out our blogs about how social media is being used to promote employee recognition:
Social Media and Employee Recognition and
More Ways to Use Social Media for Employee Recognition

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