I’ve been putting in place benefits programmes for almost 20 years, doing so in a wide variety of countries and industries, and to achieve a multitude of business and HR objectives. It’s one of the favorite parts of my job, delivering what I call a Win: Win — a win to the business by delivering something which has an ROI (return on investment) and a win to the employees by delivering something they truly value and engage with.
So what’s my favorite benefits programme? If I had to pick one, it’s likely to be the first benefits programme I’ve put in place in my previous companies, which is discounts. And yes, this is before I even joined Reward Gateway.
We like to call our employee discounts programme a company’s "secret sauce." Why, because it gets employees to come back to your benefits (and often your communications portal) time after time on a daily and weekly basis, creating something which in communications is called "stickiness."
And while that stickiness is great, what I also like about employee discounts programmes is that they create some aura of mystery, similar to the secret sauces at McDonalds and KFC. So much so that these companies go to elaborate lengths to maintain secrecy on the ingredients. Now I’m not saying that we should hide the "ingredients" of our employee discounts programmes, but if done properly the benefit can give your company a competitive advantage by having a product that other companies aspire to have.
There are many other reasons that I’m a fan of employee discounts programmes. Here’s a few others that I’ve seen over the years when putting them in place:
We’re all looking for benefits which, as the expression goes, “don’t break the bank.” That’s exactly the category I’d put employee discounts programmes under, as the cost is significantly lower than many other benefits. If it’s still not in your budget, you can test the benefit out by getting discounts with local providers and offering them to your staff. I’ve done this before, and it’s a great lead up to an online discounts platform.
High employee engagement
It’s absolutely critical to get a return on your investment from your benefits programmes, even if they don’t cost a lot of money. An employee discounts programme does this better than many others as it gives your employees something that each and every one of them want - a way to save money! It also shows that you care about them, putting in place a benefit that will support them and make their paycheck go further. Finally, discounts programmes are typically used more often than many benefits due to the sheer fact that employees spend money on everyday items, so engagement happens more frequently.
One of the other key reasons I’ve put in place an employee discounts programme is that it’s such an easy benefit to implement. An online discounts programme can be set up, fully implemented and made available to every employee in as little as three days so your employees can start saving straight away. Very few employee benefit options can offer such positive impact in such a short amount of time. The beauty of an established discounts programme is that the retailers are already on board (Reward Gateway has thousands of top retailers on its platform) so all you have to do is give your employees access to the savings.
Easy to understand
Finally, if you want your employees to use your benefits, it only makes sense that you need them to be able to understand them. Discounts programmes, if designed and communicated well, are often much easier to explain than other benefits, making them easier to access and ultimately engage with. Think of it this way, if you had to explain to a friend a retirement programme and a discounts programme, which would be easier to explain and for them to understand . . . the answer is definitely a discounts programme.
As you can see, there’s lots of reasons to put in place an employee discounts programme, adding a “secret sauce” to your “full plate” of benefits.
If you've already implemented a discounts programme, tell us how your “secret sauce” is doing in the comments. (Or get in touch with us to kick off your discounts programme today.)
Debra is our Group Reward Director at Reward Gateway. She's our Rewards guru, having over 20 years experience as a rewards leader, speaker, teacher and an author of a book on employee communications. She's most recently known as the co-author of "The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement," which she's writing with Founder Glenn Elliott.