7 min read

In today’s ever-changing world, we’re seeing many HR teams striving to do more with less. Creating an environment fit for agile HR project management has become even more important, and depending what your organization’s focus is right now, you might be considering a number of new initiatives. As you weigh up what to focus your energy and resources on, two things are likely top of mind:

Challenge: How can we stay on budget, while introducing innovative ways to engage our employees?

Challenge: My team is swamped. How can we get things done – FAST?

While the situation we’re in isn’t isolated to just the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses everywhere are under more pressure in challenging times to pivot fast, while keeping the CFO as happy as possible. So what’s an HR leader to do?

As the Director of Implementation globally, my teams are here to help companies get tech that will make an impact up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible while keeping your budget and time constraints in check. Because of the demand we’ve seen for quickly building hubs like ours that can suit a variety of needs, we've significantly reduced our timelines for certain builds in areas of communications, wellbeing, recognition and more.

Here are a few ideas to keep budget-friendly employee engagement initiatives high on your people agenda:

Evaluate your HR tech stack (or lack thereof!)

How are you connecting, recognizing and supporting your employees? Are you still reliant on the company wide email, or the all-hands Monday morning meeting to get important messages across? Not quite sure how to replace the “Employee of the Month” poster in your main office, or want your leaders to know more about how to improve employee wellbeing while working remotely?

Reach employees where they are — in the digital space — by centralizing your communications, recognition and more in one, easy-to-find place.

When you use technology to combine other initiatives such as employee recognition, employee feedback, wellbeing and employee discounts, the savings can add up quickly.

When the pandemic first hit, Dunelm, a high-volume retailer, used its engagement platform, “Home Comforts,” to communicate important announcements to its 9,800+ employees. The platform continues to be a key player in its internal communications strategy, using blogs to communicate with and gather feedback from employees, as well as to host discounts, recognition and more.


Since the beginning of March, Dunelm has published nearly 30 blogs, with a total of close to 115,000 unique reads.

The “Announcements” feature was especially helpful as it sent out an alert to every single employee to announce store closures following country lockdowns. Since the store closures, Dunelm has also implemented a secondary wellbeing hub, where employees can access hundreds of videos and articles to help with mental and physical wellbeing and use the blogs to keep employees up-to-date with critical company updates and to share positive news.

On top of that, Dunelm also uses its suite of eCards to show appreciation for hard work and keep employees connected to its core purpose (and to one another!), no matter where they are.


Bring your reward and recognition initiatives to the next level

Recognition and reward shouldn’t be considered an “add on” to your work life – it should be a fundamental part of how your people operate. But clunky systems that are difficult to access or offer a poor user experience, or recognition frameworks that haven’t evolved as your business or your teams have grown, too easily become cumbersome or irrelevant.

By having a dedicated employee recognition platform alongside other initiatives like real-time employee communications tools, you can shine a spotlight on how employees can feel valued and appreciated for the hard work they’re doing.

We can help put R&R in the center of your employees’ worlds with a focused hub around reward and recognition initiatives, combining access to peer-to-peer recognition tools, manager-led awards, nominations and more, all in one easy-to-find place.

Pacific Atlantic Handling (PAH) offers a unique customer handling service and provides luggage tracking at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Bringing powerful communications and recognition together in one place was top of mind for PAH. The organization partnered with Reward Gateway to launch its employer-branded employee engagement platform, “Elevation.” It’s on the platform that employees can send one another performance-based eCards to highlight good behavior, such as “Customer Experience” and “Leading by Example,” alongside greetings-based eCards such as “Happy Anniversary” or “Congratulations.”


Employees can send one another three levels of monetary rewards called “Altitude Awards,” as well as nominate top performers for Employee of the Month. These non-monetary and monetary reward and recognition tools help PAH foster a community-driven culture and improve employee morale.

What’s more, social recognition helps keep teams connected from any device, at any time – even on the busiest of days in an unpredictable working environment.

When reward and recognition is made public, others in the business can see it, comment on it and add reactions such as “like,” “wow” or “love.”

To build upon the newly-formed culture of appreciation, the team also used the platform to educate others in the business on the “how” and “when” of recognition and reward. The platform houses a dedicated FAQ page to recognition so that employees can learn more and understand the differences between sending an eCard, nomination or award for a more consistent experience.

Bring the focus to low-cost ideas like Learning and Development opportunities

Investing in professional development for your employees can help improve retention and drive business goals forward by equipping people with valuable, relatable skillsets. We’ve seen our clients design employee experience platforms with L&D front of mind, giving employees all the information they need to know about a particular topic like L&D opportunities at the business in one spot.

Here’s an example of what we’ve done here at Reward Gateway to promote several initiatives we have for L&D, including our Bridge Builders mentoring program, FAQs on training budgets, our book benefit and remote onboarding materials for new starters:


We’ve seen this expand to individual teams within the organization, where our Retail Team has a “need to know” hub alongside our UK Sales Team’s portal for valuable sales tools and top-rated resources for building professional skills.

Enhancing employee wellbeing at work (wherever work may be!)

With so many organizations quickly embracing remote work or flexible working policies to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, employee wellbeing is becoming a strong focus for businesses. Making sure that your employees can adjust to their “new normal” and avoid burnout is critical to keeping employee morale and productivity up during challenging times.

One quick, low-cost win can be introducing access to wellbeing content to your employees. Our client New Look introduced its discounts and recognition platform earlier this year, but it’s since grown to include a new wellbeing hub that is a dedicated space for hundreds of wellbeing articles with quick at-home workouts and ways to keep stress levels in check.

The team has even let employees join in on sharing their own wellbeing tips and personal stories on how they’re coping with mental health at home or the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. Stories like these help connect employees to one another, even if they’re not physically next to their colleagues in the usual office setting.

Because of efforts like this, New Look reached 98% engagement on its platform in just 11 weeks post-launch.

My team has built hundreds of new wellbeing-focused platforms for our clients, everything from a plug and play solution that hosts articles to a more dynamic, robust center for all things wellbeing. Here's an example of a layout we’ve designed: 


When thinking of quick wins for your organization, budget and time is always a factor. We’re here to help you come up with the solution that’s right for your business, no matter what your focus.

Get in touch with a member of our team to have a conversation about how to build a platform that’s built for what you need: 

Talk to an Engagement Consultant »

James Edwards

James is our Global Director - Implementation & Support. He is committed to creating an environment where each team member's unique skills and qualities are used to support our clients' success.

Global Director – Implementation and Support

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