Can't Afford to Send a Holiday Bonus This Year? Consider Digital Gift Cards Instead

After a long year of hard work, many employers see holiday bonuses as an opportunity to reward employees for their contributions over the past year. However, with inflation at its highest rate since 1981, paired with a looming economic recession, many employers may not be able to afford holiday bonuses this year. Why? Bonuses can be expensive. According to Go Banking Rates, the average holiday bonus totals $1,800 per employee.

Many employers may be looking for more affordable alternatives to holiday bonuses. Products like branded hoodies or mugs can get expensive with hidden fees and shipping costs. Physical gift cards can be limiting because it’s unlikely that all your employees will find the same brands desirable. Holiday parties lack personalization and can be difficult to organize with dispersed employees. Digital gift cards, however, can be affordable, flexible, and effective with the right partner.

The Affordability of Digital Gift Cards

While holiday bonuses can be expensive and reach as high as $5000 per employee, digital gift cards can fit any budget. Reward Link®, our digital gift card product, lets recipients choose from the most popular gift-card brands. They’re budget friendly, free to send in most cases, and there are no hidden fees or shipping costs.

Last year we sent digital gift cards to all our employees instead of having a holiday party. Our leadership team took the holiday budget and used it to send $500 Reward Links to each Tango Card employee, allowing them to celebrate in the way that was most meaningful for them. 

“This is the first company I have ever worked for that has shown appreciation for their employees this way. I mean, it already meant a lot that they took our health into consideration and made the responsible decision to cancel the holiday party during the pandemic. It’s hard to find employers that actually care about their employees’ health and safety, but then to use that money to share the holiday spirit by sending every Tangocardian $500 in Reward Link just means so much.”

—Rah Bryant, Customer Onboarding Specialist I

The Power of Choice

With digital gift card options like Reward Link, employees can redeem their rewards from an extensive reward catalog of 100+ of their favorite retailers. Employees can even choose whether to spend their Reward Links with one partner or multiple partners to get everything on their wish list.

“I love how easy it is to generate rewards for the exact amount needed during checkout for several brands. We generated one Reward Link in the electronics department for the exact amount needed, then again when purchasing sodas, monsters, etc., during self checkout. We converted the rest to DoorDash credit and ordered great pizza from a local restaurant!”

—Matt Taylor, Senior Software Engineer

The Effectiveness Of Holiday Rewards

Employees often view cash bonuses as an extension of their salary, whereas non-cash bonuses are viewed with higher value. Employees tend to use non-cash rewards, like digital gift cards, for the things they really want rather than non-memorable everyday expenses like bills and groceries.

“I bought books and frames to hang art prints and decorate my apartment [with Reward Link]. I had gotten the art prints from various artists at conventions over the years and kept putting off framing them because it can be so expensive. Now the artwork is proudly displayed instead of shoved away in my closet collecting dust.

—Kahla Moonlock, HR Coordinator

According to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), “A large body of research suggests that non-cash rewards are more effective motivators than cash in many cases,” and in times of inflation, people tend to see cash as having eroded in value. Digital gift cards encourage employees to use them for whatever is most meaningful to them.

“We partnered with Tango Card last Christmas and everything went smoothly…the sincere appreciation we received in response from our employees made this a very wonderful way for us to let our employees know that we appreciate them."

Melody Breid, Executive Assistant at Freedom Forever

Selecting a Digital Gift Card Provider

Choosing the right e-gift card provider doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few things we suggest keeping in mind when reviewing digital gift card providers:

• Selecting a digital gift card provider that doesn’t charge any fees to send rewards will help your budget go even further. With Reward Link, you pay only the face value of the gift cards you send.

• The right partner can help you eliminate shipping costs, inventory issues, and long lead times with digital gift cards. Reward Links are sent instantly through email to eliminate each of these obstacles.

• Digital gift cards should be delivered to all employees—no matter their location. You can send Reward Links anywhere in the United States and over 25 other countries.

Built-in reporting can save you time and money tracking your digital gift cards and help you easily ensure all employees are included. With the Rewards Genius dashboard, you can view order statuses, resend gift cards, and download order and funding history reports.

This year, recognizing employees’ hard work doesn’t have to break the budget. Rewarding your employees for their work, even during uncertain times, can be affordable, flexible, and effective with a solution like Reward Link.

Download our holiday guide to learn how you can easily send digital gift cards to all of your employees this year!

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