How to select the right motivation vouchers for employees

A motivation voucher scheme is a means of engaging staff when pay rises are few and far between.


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  • Employers should examine the demographics of their workforce to help choose the right motivation vouchers.
  • Employee communication campaigns or surveys can reveal what types of voucher are valued by employees.
  • Once the vouchers have been chosen, organisations should aim to keep the campaign fresh.

Voucher schemes offer employees tangible benefits by allowing them to redeem rewards on the high street, use them for an experience day or to buy goods online.

With so much variety of vouchers available, employers should first consider the demographics of their workforce to ensure they offer the most appropriate vouchers to maximise motivation.

Mike Morgan, chief executive officer at PeopleValue, says: “Employers should look at the demographic of the workforce: is it predominantly young, or female; what generation are they? And then decide which vouchers are suitable.”

Simplicity of administration and delivery, and the fact that there is no impact on payroll costs, further enhance the appeal of vouchers as a motivational tool.

Employee choice

A key tactic for employers is to offer staff maximum choice of vouchers, because the ability to decide how they spend their reward adds further to the scheme’s motivational value.

Kuljit Kaur, head of business development at the Voucher Shop, says: “Don’t include vouchers that could be swept up in everyday life, such as supermarket vouchers to buy groceries. Employers should try to give maximum choice; it is the preferred thing to do.

“This lets all employees that have been rewarded through some form of motivation strategy to do what they want to do with the reward.”

Employee communication

Employers can find out what sparks the interest of their staff by running a benefits communication campaign or an employee opinion survey.

Bill Alexander, chief executive officer at Red Letter Days, says: “I would recommend employers do surveys to get feedback. Most organisations have to make a choice [of vouchers], but picking lifestyle vouchers could be an easy solution that offers a mix to different demographics.”

Vicki Twigg, HR business partner for reward at construction firm Speedy Hire, says simplicity is also important when providing motivation vouchers. The organisation hands out more than 800 vouchers to employees each year.

“Employers need to shop around for providers because it can be hard to get vouchers delivered immediately,” she says. “Employees don’t want to wait for the reward; the impact of motivation would have gone by then.

“Simplicity is key, as well as value for money. Employees don’t want something they cannot spend, and minimal amounts such as £10 simply will not motivate staff. Employees want something they can use and is valuable to them.”

Improved productivity

Andrew Sellers, development manager of corporate sales at the John Lewis Partnership, says choosing the right motivation vouchers can improve productivity across a business, with employees becoming motivated when they hear about colleagues’ rewards.

“I don’t think employees get motivated ahead of a reward,” he says. “The impact is back in the workplace after employees have gone away and purchased goods with their motivation vouchers.

“Staff communicate back in the workplace and this spreads the word that the £250 voucher was not spent on bills but something else, something for themselves. This is the message most employers are trying to achieve when picking the right vouchers.”

Keep the campaign fresh

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Once an employer chooses the right vouchers, it is then about keeping the scheme fresh, adding new ideas each year, says Red Letter Days’ Alexander. “Employers could also add in other small benefits, such as a leave-early day, a duvet day or an extra day’s holiday, to spice up the motivation.”

Selecting the right motivation vouchers builds long-term motivation in the workplace, but the gift element is only the start. PeopleValue’s Morgan adds: “It’s about creating a motivated and happy workforce, and the reward is only part of this. A happy workforce is a productive workforce.”