How to Incentivize Compliance in a Modern Workplace

Businesses have become more flexible over the last couple years, adjusting workplace expectations and policies to accommodate current employees—and attract new ones. In fact, 76% of remote workers say their employer will allow people to work remotely going forward, at least partially, according to a survey by Gallup.

Despite popularity, the trend of remote and hybrid workplaces has made efforts to comply with local regulations and laws more difficult. Even maintaining secure data practices can come with risk. 48% of employees report being less likely to follow safe data practices while working from home, according to Tessian. Similarly, 84% of IT leaders report that data loss prevention is more challenging with a remote workforce.

As employees spread out and workplaces continue to evolve, compliance is more important than ever. The question is: How do you build a sustainable culture of compliance—and how do you keep employees on the same page from different locations?

Employee Participation

To build a culture of compliance, there needs to be a shift in perception. Ultimately, employees can’t assume that compliance is the responsibility of someone else.

“Compliance teams develop new policies and enforce them to ensure adherence with law and regulation—and while this is a fundamental requirement for any business, it is often the compliance team which is seen as a police force, rather than a valued partner that is essential to business growth,” explains Louis Sapirman, the Chief Compliance Officer at Dun & Bradstreet. “If every employee is aware of their personal responsibilities and the importance of compliance to the success of the business as a whole, risks can be substantially mitigated.”

Incentivizing Participation

Many employees view compliance training as a box they need to check—something to get over with quickly. In fact, a recent survey by Corporate Compliance Insights revealed that 15% of respondents say they click through mandatory compliance training without listening or reading, while 34% say they only skim-read the content and tune in or out of the audio. 49% indicated they skip-read or didn’t listen to their mandatory compliance training in detail.

Despite efforts to weave interesting storylines into your trainings, your educational content might not thrill every employee (and that’s okay). Try incentivizing participation instead. With the right incentive, you can motivate employees to take action.

Finding a Strong Motivator

To effectively drive employee participation, your compliance program needs a powerful motivator. The question is, which incentive is best? Here are the pros and cons of popular incentive options.


According to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), clothing and sunglasses are among the most frequently selected items for incentive programs because they’re easily accessible. Amazon, for example, sells over 100,000 types of toothbrushes. Similarly, Alibaba can send your business a thousand ceramic mugs in less than a week. However, the abundance of merchandise incentives can also be a negative. The IRF notes, “When our options, including merchandise products, become so varied, so abundant, and so accessible, the process of choosing will in turn become overwhelming, stress-inducing, and anxiety-ridden.”


Cash and incentive pay are an attractive incentive because it’s flexible, which means your employees can spend it how they choose. In many cases, it’s an ideal incentive. However, there’s a key drawback to consider: the risk of becoming unmemorable. According to the IRF, non-cash rewards outperform cash rewards because recipients often use cash to pay for everyday expenses—like utilities, groceries, or car payments. This type of spending may be practical, but it isn’t exciting or memorable.

Gift Cards

There’s a reason gift cards have been at the top of wish lists for the last 15 years. They’re easy, cost effective, and desirable. However, without an established partner to streamline gift card delivery, the process can become very manual. You want to avoid being in a situation where you’re constantly visiting stores to purchase gift cards directly—and figuring out how to securely store them.

Visit our blog to see how other popular incentives compare.

Reaching All Employees

As employees spread out, the ability to reach them becomes more complicated. Details like lead times, shipping costs, and added fees can have an impact on your overall budget and timeline. You can avoid these factors by offering digital incentives. Many of our customers choose e-gift cards for their incentive programs because they’re an easy way to reach all employees, including those located internationally.

"We reward our employees for completing certifications, specialized training, and customer satisfaction scores. Tango Card makes it faster to reward our staff and offers them flexibility to choose what cards they want. It has been a great resource for us. We have loved this value." —Dan Luthi, Accounting Director, Ignite Spot Accounting

Curious how our customers streamline e-gift card delivery? With Rewards Genius®, our free, self-serve web portal, you can order, send, and track gift cards in one easy place.

Email to learn how you can improve your compliance program with digital gift cards. Or see our resources and information to help you boost employee engagement.

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