Cons: Price can be a big factor with these types of programs. In order to get a quality selection, Scully suggested companies should bring up their price points to about $100 per employee.
Strategy session: Now more than ever, companies are looking to save money. Finding gift-catalog suppliers that specialize in more-bang-for-your-buck selections is a good way to ease end-buyers’ budget fears while ensuring their employees get the high-quality gifts they want.
4) Gift cards/certificates.
Pros: The closest thing to cold, hard cash, gift cards are a more personal way to give employees spending flexibility, Scully pointed out. Plus, it has more impact than putting a cash bonus into a paycheck, which is subject to taxation and frankly, the meaning can get lost on payday.
Cons: Again, not too many with this choice. However, in a recent program Scully did where the gift cards she gave out that applied discounts to a selection of local restaurants, she noted that there were a few more steps for redemption than she liked. Employees had to go online and search for an eatery, “work” which might have lessened its impact.
Strategy session: Still, gift cards bridge the great divide between giving something meaningful and simply throwing money at people. A column on Inc. magazine’s Web site, “Twenty Ways to Earn Employee Love,” summed it up best: “Cash will always be directed toward necessities, while other perks are remembered and appreciated—they evoke an emotional response instead of merely a logical, financial one.”