Ask the Experts: Implementing Employee Reward and Recognition Programs

Question: We are considering implementing an employee discount and reward program. How should we go about this, and where can I find more information?

Answer: An employee discount and reward program (sometimes called a “perk program”) offers your employees discounts or rewards on local services or businesses like restaurants and gyms, or at arts, sports, and entertainment venues. Employers may provide these discounts or rewards on their own, or can contract with a third party vendor that sets up and manages the program for them. Perks can be used as awards for above-and-beyond work, recognition, or as every day thanks. Either way, perks programs are a great way to show employees that their time away from work is valuable to you.

When first considering implementing a program, it’s a good idea to poll employees to learn what motivates them. If your company is full of sports fans, for instance, tickets or discounts at local sporting venues may motivate them more than passes to the city’s modern art museum. Once you’re clearer on ideas, reach out to venues and ask what kind of partnerships they have available to local businesses, or consider vendors for your perks program (conduct an online search of “employee perks” or “corporate perks” for national vendor options).

Aside from a third-party run program, simple perks you may be easily able to incorporate include:

  • Company outings, parties, or picnics.
  • Casual dress days, flex time, or occasional work from home.
  • Discounts to local gyms or fitness studios.
  • Passes to museums or discounts to sports arenas.
  • Health fairs.
  • Napping pods, relaxation rooms, or game rooms.
  • Ordering in lunch for the whole company (ask about food preferences/sensitivities so no one feels left out).
  • Discounted commuter passes.
  • Concierge services like dry cleaning pickup, car washes, haircuts, etc.
  • Gift cards to local shops or restaurants.
  • Company logo merchandise, like clothing and travel mugs.