Employee Reward Programs That Should Go Digital in 2024

What does it take to engage and recognize employees in a remote or hybrid workplace? For many employee experience managers, the answer is a tech stack with the right set of digital tools. From automated employee rewards to digital peer-to-peer recognition, here’s how professionals are successfully transitioning their reward programs from traditional to digital.

Automated Employee Anniversary Gifts

Recognizing employee work anniversaries has traditionally been a manual process. Unruly is the word Becky Hathaway, our former Director of Employee Experience, used to describe her past approach. "I relied on calendar reminders to send work anniversary rewards to employees—it was a very manual process. There was a period of time where I also tried sending monthly work anniversary gifts, but it wasn’t a great employee experience because they weren’t receiving the rewards on their actual anniversary,” she explained.

If you’re an HR professional, chances are you’re familiar with Namely, an HR, payroll, benefits, and talent-management platform. For many Namely users, sending employee anniversary gifts can now be done digitally. Our out-of-the-box Namely integration allows users to automatically send an e-gift card to employees on the work anniversary that’s recorded for them in Namely. Our employee experience team uses this tool—and they’re pleased with the results.

“I have it set up so that on the morning of an employee’s anniversary, they receive a $50 Reward Link at 7am,” explained Becky. “For many employees, it’s the first thing they see when they open their email.”

Digital Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition is more important than ever. It’s also more challenging than ever, given the prevalence of remote work. Professionals looking for ways to drive engagement on their remote and hybrid teams can benefit from digital recognition tools like Reward Bot. What makes this tool stand out? For one thing, it works in real time. With Reward Bot, your employees can recognize and thank their peers by sending a public Slack message instantly.

Reward Bot easily integrates with Slack, creating a steady feed of recognition, thank-yous, and general positivity in real time. With this public feed, our employees view and celebrate peer-to-peer recognition through our #kudos Slack channel throughout the day.

Reward Bot takes recognition a step further by allowing employees to include a gift card in their message.

Virtual Employee Appreciation Day

Activities that made sense for Employee Appreciation Day in the past—like catered lunches or company-wide events—are less realistic today as many companies have permanently shifted to a remote or hybrid workplace. Here are some ideas to help make the day still feel special virtually.

• Hire an instructor to teach virtual yoga or lead a guided meditation class.

• Coordinate a virtual raffle, giving employees a chance to win several big-ticket items. We love the idea of including items that employees wouldn’t necessarily purchase for themselves—like a kayak or high-end kitchen appliance.

• Offer a service that makes their lives at home easier, like an oil change for their car, a meal delivery subscription box, or a landscaping service.

• Send a company-wide survey a few weeks before Employee Appreciation Day that asks employees to submit a wish list of work-related tools. Pick several tools to make available and announce them on Employee Appreciation Day.

• Hire a mixologist to lead a cocktail demonstration for happy hour.

• Ship employees a festive gift box filled with gourmet snacks, coffee, and treats that they can open on Employee Appreciation Day.

• Provide lunch or dinner by emailing a choice of food-delivery e-gift cards with Reward Link.

We have a variety of resources and information that outline how we can help you improve your employee reward program. You can also email sales@tangocard.com to speak to someone directly about making your employee reward program even better. 

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