Colin Hodgson: Don’t underestimate role of pre-paid cards in global recognition

Your motivation feature, How to run a global recognition scheme (October 2013), raised some important points about the importance of global recognition schemes.

The first is the way we talk about reward and recognition. It is important for us all to remember that recognition is what employees want and what organisations need to give.

Recognition does not always have to be associated with reward, but where it is, the reward reinforces the act of recognition. Indeed, a more accurate description for these programmes would be ‘recognition and reward’.

The second is the role of pre-paid cards or discounts. For global organisations, pre-paid cards are one of the most effective ways to reward staff cost-effectively and to ensure it is delivered in a consistent and timely way.

A well-designed programme will allow organisations to ensure the value of reward reflects different currencies, costs of living and living standards, while overcoming the potential for cultural issues that may arise from sourcing and distributing physical gifts.

Global programmes also need to consider import or export taxes when gifts are being distributed across borders. The use of points and pre-paid cards instead of cash or gifts allows conversion into local rewards, which ensure equality across global programmes.

Lastly, the use of pre-paid cards or online vouchers gives the valuable opportunity to monitor trends, so employers can adapt and improve what they are doing.

It goes without saying that the act of recognition needs to be personalised for the country in question, but making sure the reward is easy to give in the first place is a great way to ensure that happens.

Colin Hodgson is sales director, incentives and motivation at Edenred