Danny Clenaghan, Managing Director at Argos for Business, takes a look at how the definition of a benefit has changed in years gone by:
Historically, an employee benefit has been seen as a ‘compensation’ of sorts, given to employees in addition to their regular salary.
In recent years this viewpoint has changed and the employer focus has shifted when it comes to employee benefits. In the past, employee benefits may have comprised of occupational sick pay, health insurance and workplace pensions, but these types of benefits are now often seen as an extension of a salary and the ‘perks’ are now considered to be the benefit.
Attractive non-contractual packages may help to encourage an employee to join a company in the first instance, but that initial feeling of satisfaction doesn’t always last. Businesses have learnt that keeping employees motivated and engaged are key to improving sales, productivity, morale and that it can even change behaviour in terms of improving discretionary effort and time keeping whilst reducing absenteeism.
Cash bonuses were a popular choice of employee benefit and are still well received by employees, but the true impact has been brought into question as over time, employees have begun to expect a bonus and consider it as a part of their pay packet. When a bonus is paid directly into an employees’ bank account, it is also easier for them to spend on everyday expenses instead of a genuine reward.
As some businesses were forced to make cut backs during the recession, cash related incentives such as pay reviews and bonuses were an obvious casualty. Increasingly, employers have begun to look for new ways to implement rewards and motivate employees more effectively to ensure maximum return on investment. Giving something more tangible has become more popular.
Those who are better educated about the different options will see the most success.
Issues to be considered:
- Tailored choice – should an employer buy a specific gift, such as a food hamper, a bottle of wine, or an iPod? Or should it offer additional holidays or flexible working? Whatever the choice, it is important to consider staff needs and aspirations so that the reward can cater to recipients Based on what motivates / interests them. The right choice also allows the employer to align themselves with a highly regarded product or brand that reflects the company ethos
- A one-size fits all approach could be ineffective – for maximum effect, the employer would need to offer a benefit that would meet the needs / desires of a range of individuals
- Creating a rewards system that can easily be adapted to suit the ever-changing needs of the business is a challenge. They may need quick results, or be looking to change behaviour over time, so flexibility is key
- Financial pressure on individuals and families means that it has become more important to separate reward and recognition remunerations from the monthly payroll, so that employees view them as a genuine added benefit
Keeping in mind the above, the way in which an employer goes about implementing their rewards strategy has become crucial.
Some employers believe giving a physical gift has a more personal touch and instant impact, so where this is deemed desirable, Argos for Business customers can choose from a huge range of 50,000 products available in-store and online, including electricals, jewellery and watches, technology, sporting goods, home furnishings and toys.
Businesses also need to give thought to whether or not they can hold stock. Argos for Business developed Argos Collection Code to remove the need for businesses to store goods or arrange delivery where providing a product is desirable – employees are given a code and can use it to pick their reward up at their own convenience from any Argos store. This ensures a more instant impact and removes any risk of the feel good moment being lost whilst the employee awaits delivery.
Gift cards are also popular because of the flexibility they afford – the employee can choose a gift to meet their own needs and so provide a great solution for employers working with a mixed demographic. They also come in a range of denominations, which makes them easier to distribute whether allocating a high or low level of spend. Argos Gift Cards can be redeemed at any one of 735 Argos stores nationwide.
The ability to top-up a reloadable gift card is also appealing where a medium to long term incentive scheme is required. In circumstances where employers look to change behaviour, for example, staff can be rewarded for performance and dedication over the course of several months.
Knowing your aims and the different options available from the outset will go a long way to helping you choose what works for your employees.
Gift card flexibility vs chosen, tangible gifts. Does flexibility stand up to the enjoyment of receiving a special gift or the ability to purchase something that lasts?
Contribution from Argos for Business’ Managing Director, Danny Clenaghan:
At Argos for Business, we provide businesses with access to Argos merchandise and Gift Cards and believe that both methods have their place as a form of reward. The way to decipher which option will work best for your business is to begin by looking at what you want to achieve.
There are five key factors that an employer should take into account:
- Staff: think about your employees and their needs and aspirations. The chosen reward should stimulate all recipients regardless of age, gender, personality, personal circumstances or interests.
- Goals: it is important to set out your key objectives – do you want to boost morale, increase sales, improve productivity or is staff retention, absence or time keeping the issue?
- Time: do you need to take a short or long term approach? Offering small and frequent rewards can help to drive sales and boost morale, but when looking to change behaviour, maybe more effective to give your employee something to work towards by building up to a bigger reward over time.
- Fulfilment: thought also needs to be given to whether or not you can hold stock. If not, then gift cards may be preferable. Argos for Business developed Collection Code where providing a product is still desirable – employees are given a code and can use it to pick their reward up at their own convenience from any Argos store.
- Budget: it is important that you carefully consider the type of reward they can afford to give and the length of time that they can commit to.
Tangible gifts can be an effective method of reward - although it may be more time selecting gifts, the employee can enjoy their reward straight away and receive a more personalised gift from their employer.
Gift cards also tend to work well because of the flexibility they afford – they come in a range of denominations, which makes them easier to distribute whether allocating a high or low level of spend. Argos Gift Cards can be redeemed at any one of 840 Argos stores nationwide.
The ability to top-up a reloadable gift card is also appealing where a change in behaviour is desirable as staff can be rewarded for performance and dedication over the course of several months.
Both gift cards and merchandise can be effective when used correctly in line with the individual aims of the business. Knowing your aims from the outset as well as what will best suit your employees will go a long way to helping you choose what works for your workforce.
With Christmas fast approaching, the peak season for staff incentives and rewards is well underway.
On average, Argos for Business witnesses an increase of 50% in sales throughout November and December, with businesses from across the UK looking to motivate staff to maximise sales or thank employees for a job well done.
Using Argos for Business to help incentivise your employees offers your business the flexibility and affordability that it requires:
Argos Gift Cards
Argos Gift Cards are a great motivational tool and provide choice, convenience and flexibility to both the employer and employee.
Whether the employee wants to treat a loved one, pick up some toys for the little ones, or just choose a gift for themselves, they have a choice of 50,000 products (leading and own brand) from one of 840 Argos stores nationwide.
Available in denominations of between £5 and £25, employers can distribute the cards easily, whether allocating a high or low level of spend.
For those looking to offer specific products, Argos for Business can provide Collection Codes that allow businesses to purchase products in advance and a unique code given to the recipient to collect at their own convenience from an Argos store (96% of the UK population live within 10 miles of an Argos store).
Motivated employees should be at the heart of every business. An engaged and driven workforce is more efficient, producing better results not only for the individual but also collectively for the good of the company.
Rewarding good work helps employees feel more valued, thanked for a job well done, over and above that of their salary. Incentives encourage employees to maintain excellent standards, which in turn impacts positively on a business’ bottom line, not to mention higher staff retention.
The choice of incentive however, is very important. Reward and recognition remunerations should be separate to the monthly payroll, so that they are viewed as a genuine added benefit.
It also pays to remember that a one-size fits all approach is ineffective, as what might work for one employee, may not for another. Providing the team with the freedom to choose their type of reward is essential, with such flexibility further promoting staff relationships.
That being said, it would be a logistical nightmare to tailor incentives to each individual employee, especially in larger companies.
There is a lot to think about, but when implemented effectively, there is great potential to make positive changes. The first stage of setting up any rewards programme is to set out the aims of the activity.
At Argos for Business, our clients come to us with a range of different requirements; we help them to define their objectives and offer them a huge choice of simple, flexible and affordable solutions that will help them to achieve their business goals. We also set targets to help monitor success.
Gift cards are a versatile tool and perfect for one off incentives when looking to create a short-term drive in production or performance. With gift cards, the problem of deciding which gifts will be well received is removed as the recipient can choose a gift to suit their needs.
When looking to change staff behaviour in the long-term, an ongoing rewards programme can have positive results. For this we offer reloadable Rewards Cards, which can be created with the company’s own brand, or indeed with the Argos brand. The Rewards Cards allow employers to reward employees on a regular or ad hoc basis.
This flexibility is also extended to the employee, who can purchase exactly what they want equal to the value on their card, or even save their monetary rewards in order to buy more valuable items. Collecting money on their card, and knowing that it will go towards a more valuable item is a great incentive in itself and, for the employer; the Rewards Cards are also a great way to map spending.
For those looking to reward staff with specific products, Argos for Business can provide with Collection Codes that allow businesses to control the distribution of incentives, as products can be purchased in advance and a unique code given to the recipient to collect at their own convenience from an Argos store.
With Christmas just around the corner, and employers looking to reward their staff for all of their hard work throughout 2013, we thought we’d take a look at how employers can use Argos for Business products to thank their staff for a job well done this winter:
Argos gift cards
Argos gift cards are a great way for employers to show staff that their hard work has not gone unnoticed, while also being a versatile tool for creating a short-term drive in production or performance.
When choosing Christmas rewards for employees, it is important to remember that a gift that suits one member of staff may not suit another. With the Argos gift card, the problem of deciding which gifts will be well received is removed, with the employee being free to choose the perfect gift to suit their needs.
Available in denominations of between £5 and £25, the cards offer choice and flexibility for staff, allowing them to redeem their gift at one of 735 Argos stores, with over 29,000 products to choose from.
The fact that they can be purchased in a range of denominations also makes them easier for employers to distribute, whether allocating a high or low level of spend.
So, whether the employee wants to treat themselves to a lavish gift this festive season, pick up some toys for the little ones, or simply treat that special someone, the Argos gift card is the perfect tool for employers looking to reward staff for their efforts this year.
With 29,000 products available online and in our catalogue, finding the perfect Christmas gift for those dedicated employees is guaranteed, while discounts on bulk purchases can also help budgets to go even further.
Argos Collection Code
The Argos Collection Code offers a revolutionary way for employers to reward their staff at Christmas, allowing them to collect a piece of pre-paid merchandise from one of around 735 Argos stores.
The Collection Code offers two functionality options to choose from, giving the employer even more control over how they reward their staff:
- The ‘Select’ option allows the employer to uniquely manage their promotion by providing an Argos Collection Code for a specific product which can be collected from one of the Argos stores
- The ‘Save’ option allows the employer to offer the employee a money off option from anything in the catalogue (or a specific product), with a discount being set in the form of a value or percentage
The code can be sent through to staff via email, text or paper voucher, with their gift being available as soon as they receive the code, creating a buzz of excitement ahead of collecting their item from the store.
They can also check and reserve their gift online, to be collected from a local store, and with 96% of the UK population living within 10 miles of an Argos store, it’s never been easier to give staff the choice and convenience of an Argos reward.