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4 min read

An employee discounts programme can be a powerful and engaging employee benefit. But its effectiveness is heavily reliant on its development and how it’s communicated before and after launch.Our first post explored four of the most common mistakes I’ve seen in my 20+ years of implementing many benefits programmes (including implementing discounts programmes).

Here are four others to avoid (and how to fix them!):

  1.  Making assumptions

For many of our employees, a discounts platform can be an easy user experience as it uses the methodology and approach used for many online experiences. This isn’t the case, however, for everyone. For some, this kind of user experience can be a foreign or even intimidating experience as they’re not used to it. We can’t assume that all our employees will “get it,” whether it’s where to find things or how to use the various functionalities offered through the benefit. If you make these assumptions and don’t address them upfront you could be ignoring the needs of a portion of your employees.  

Here's my tip: Take the time upfront to understand your employees, whether it’s a survey, a focus group or just informal chats. Ask them about their knowledge and comfort on using the functionality, assessing what and how you can best educate and support them. Use this to help you develop your communications approach and plan, delivering the right information to everyone, and not assuming that one approach will be effective.


  1. Forget to vary your communications tactics

An assumption which is commonly made is that just because you do a big song and dance with the launch of a benefit that it will stick.  Magically all our employees will understand and love the benefit  . . . if only!  If we don’t drip feed our communications continuously to our employees, we’ll never achieve the objectives we set for our discounts benefit.

Here's my tip: Come up with a robust communications plan, one which communicates to your employees not only multiple times but does so in different ways. Why, because you have a better chance of your messages being heard if you do it in different ways. Use different media (e.g. in an email, with a poster, through social media, etc.) and also share information on different aspects of the discounts benefit (e.g. online offers one time, Cashback another, reloadable cards another, etc.). Mix it up and drip feed and you’ll get much better results.


  1.  Assuming success is based on registration numbers

A mistake which some companies make is to assume that just because you have a high number of employees registered on your discounts platform that it’s been a success. Yes, high registration is great and should be celebrated, but it is not enough to achieve true engagement with the benefit. For this you want and need your employees to use the benefit over and over again, this is a true indication of success.

Here's my tip: Based on your objectives, determine your true success measures. For example, is it a certain spend per employee, usage of specific products (e.g. reloadable cards, Cashback, etc.) or other measures which you believe will show that it’s been effective. Track and measure these on an ongoing basis, and adjust your communications campaign to help you achieve them.  being-alone.jpg

  1.  Forgetting you’re part of a team!

The final mistake is one of thinking that you can do it alone, believing that you don’t need support of others to get the word out there on how great the benefit is. For a discounts platform, more so than many other benefits, this is a big mistake and can be the difference between success and failure. You need the voice of others to help spread the word on the benefit, partly because more voices are better than one and partly because employees often have greater trust with their colleagues when it comes to this kind of benefits programme.

Here's my tip: At Reward Gateway, we suggest our clients use "champions" to help communicate your discounts platform. As Client Services Manager Bekkie Wetz explains in her blog titled "Four Ways to Create a Culture of Champions" these are the members of your workforce who will spread the message throughout your employee base on your behalf. They provide a human aspect; a trusting approach to communications because your employees are getting the message from their peers.  

Find and engage with champions who are based in your different locations, who are part of different businesses and/or teams, and represent the demographics of your workforce. They will not only help you, but they’ll actually enjoy the challenge and the opportunity to spread the work.

These past two posts have explored the most common eight or so mistakes about implementing a discounts programme, but as I like to say, every mistake is a lesson learned! Learn from your successes (as well as your failures) and you’ll be on your way to a winning discounts programme.

And don’t forget, if you implement a discounts programme with Reward Gateway, we’re there every step of the way to help you make the right choices, for the highest engagement.

Debra Corey

Debra Corey is an author, world-class speaker and HR consultant, paying it forward by inspiring and helping others around the world to bring out their inner rebel and drive strategic and meaningful people and business change as the Chief Pay it Forward Officer at DebCo HR. Her career spans 20+ years developing and delivering HR strategies in a rebellious way, pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo to truly drive employee engagement.

Reward Gateway Advisor

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