Forced isolation, social distancing, travel restrictions, stagnant industries, flat sales. All of these effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic have accelerated and solidified an already budding trend towards digitalization in performance incentive programs. Digitalization – with respect to reward delivery in channel incentive and employee recognition programs – involves rotating more tangible merchandise redemption options into instant digital form, which provides many benefits. This creates a full-loop experience, in which program participants can earn a reward value, redeem instantaneously for a digitally delivered option, and then go and use that reward perhaps even digitally in an online transaction.
In the wake of quarantined program participants, the runway headed to this more digital experience has shortened. Companies who incentivize in the form of trips, travel, experiences, and even physical gift cards to use in a retail store are finding digital delivery a safe haven- and so are consumers. In the broad industry, according to an Incentive Research Foundation survey, companies reported that the use of gift cards as rewards increased by 26% during the pandemic. We’re finding something similarly enlightening.
In WorkStride programs, digital gift card options have long been a significant component of the redemption experience. In recent months, even our traditionally high levels of digital redemption have lifted even higher. As of 2020 to date, 80% of our most consumed redemption options are all digital – up from 70% in 2019. Our recent increase in digital reward redemption primarily took place in the late Q1/early Q2 period – during which digital redemption rose 6% from one quarter to the next. This rise in digital redemption transpired in a consistent upward trend month-over-month in the first 7 months of 2020.
Reward delivery is an important part of the digital process, though it’s not the whole story. Going digital includes inspiring more programs to centralize their internal processes and program logic into a solution, rather than opting for spreadsheet management. Spreadsheets get lost, updated multiple times, are overly manual, and often lack the appropriate permissions or complexities to be strategic in your incentives or recognition execution. They also do not provide the tactical guidance necessary to be adaptable in a dynamic industry when it comes to regulations, taxes, and best practices.
A software solution allows for automation where necessary, flexibility in program design, and instantaneous reward fulfillment, allowing for a harmonious relationship between program and users. These benefits compounded make the program more efficient (both technologically and financially) and more gratifying to users, driving them to the specific actions that then drive business results.
Solutions allow for a holistic approach to recognition and incentive programs by providing the necessary tools for success- capable and automated workflows, user-friendly and flexible programs, and safe and efficient fulfillment of digital, prepaid, gift cards, merchandise, and other rewards.