Gift vouchers for employees: why, what and how?

Gift vouchers for employees, from Blackhawk Network

Why reward your employees? 

Business owners have many responsibilities for the continuous success of their company; looking after customers, ensuring top quality products, and monitoring productivity and costs.

And what one thing positively impacts all of these?  

Your employees of course. 

Your employees are your biggest asset. They look after every aspect of your company, and looking after them is a sure-fire way to generate repeated success. A recent study found that 40% of employees would put more energy into their work if they were recognised for their efforts. And 44% of employees search for a new job because of the lack of recognition they receive for their work

It is therefore important to not underestimate the importance of rewards. Let’s look at how rewarding your staff will benefit your company in greater detail. 

The benefits of rewarding your employees  

When you introduce rewards into your business you will find that your team: 

  • Experience greater job satisfaction which leads to greater motivation  
  • Find work more enjoyable, so less time is wasted 
  • Feel more loyal to the company, therefore become more engaged, are less likely to leave and become advocates for the business 
  • Give your customers a better experience, driving repeat business and boosting recommendations 

And in return, your company: 

  • Benefits from increased productivity and thus sales 
  • Reaps benefits from a high standard of work, which reduces negative feedback 
  • Has an enhanced office morale, making the business a positive place to work  
  • Experiences less staff sick leave, reducing staff costs 
  • Is likely to see a profit increase as all of the vital pieces of an engaged workforce come together 

When should I reward my employees? 

Feeling appreciated is a basic human need and this applies to the employee/employer relationship too. There are many statistics that show employee recognition increases job satisfaction and engagement, which is why it’s no surprise that reward and recognition schemes are growing in popularity around the world. 

But when and how should you reward your employees? What are the rules to success? 

Recognising your employees can come in multiple forms. You can set up a formal rewards scheme based on bonuses and performance. Or you can have a more casual attitude, ensuring you give your employees gifts for celebratory occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and births.  

In our experience, a hybrid version of the two works best. But whatever approach you decide, you must be consistent and accurate. Missing someone’s birthday or big win is an easy way to lose motivation at lightning speed. 

Reward scheme ideas 

Rewards and incentives can be based on a number of achievements depending on the structure of your business and your goals.  

Here are some ideas you can reward employees for: 

  • Meeting sales targets 
  • Completing a project in a certain timeframe 
  • Winning new clients  
  • Receiving positive customer feedback 
  • Helping peers 
  • Going above and beyond the call of duty 

Make rewards achievable 

You can have multiple goals in place to achieve a reward, but remember, all staff need to get involved if your business is to benefit. And the only way you’ll get an entire workforce engaged in your reward programme is if you make goals attainable. 

That doesn’t mean goals set need to be easy, but that there needs to be multiple milestones in place.  

For example, it’s natural to have more ambitious team members that work hard to achieve goals and reap rewards quickly, whilst others will be happy to sit back, ride the wave, and often never receive any rewards. When this happens you need to be careful that resentment doesn’t grow and affect the overall culture of the office - envy is a definite way to diminish all your efforts. Prevent this by putting a variety of milestones in place so that all employees find themselves being rewarded in some way. 

Whatever you decide, policies must be clearly communicated to your workforce. They must know exactly what they need to achieve to receive the incentive. The reward itself must be clear too. Everyone must know where they stand. 


What are the best rewards for employees? 

There are a number of ways you can reward your employees, including: 

  • Gift Vouchers 
  • eGifts / digital rewards 
  • Cash 
  • Physical items 
  • Experiences 
  • Verbal praise (non-cash gifts) 

Each come with their own pros and cons which are listed below. 




Gift cards or vouchers 

  • Easy to organise 
  • Can buy in bulk 
  • Cost effective 
  • Flexible gift 
  • Can be personalised 
  • Can be redeemed at a number of shops 
  • Can be sent electronically 


  • Might be taxable if certain criteria is not met 
  • A member of staff needs to organise the purchasing and distribution of the physical gift cards or vouchers 

Digital Gift Cards  / eGifts 

  • Have all the benefits of gift vouchers 
  • Environmentally friendly 
  • Can be easily offered to staff situated remotely 
  • Can be sent and received in an instant 
  • May appear impersonal if no custom personalisation is applied
  • You may want to check they do not land in the recipients junk box 
  • Not everyone likes virtual gifts 


  • Can be spent on anything, anywhere 
  • It can feel like a bonus 


Physical Item 

  • Meaningful to recipient 
  • Exciting to receive 
  • Requires careful consideration - trying to second-guess employee preferences can have the opposite of the desired effect
  • May not be appreciated if deemed ‘wrong’ 
  • Takes time to organise, purchase and hand out 


  • Can be personalised 
  • Fun to open and redeem 
  • Long-lasting, positive effects through the creation of happy memories



  • Makes people feel valued 
  • Personal 
  • Can be offered to an entire team 
  • Free to implement 


  • Not valued by all or can lose its value if not carefully managed 


Why give gift vouchers to your employees? 

We’ve already discussed the importance of showing your employees that you truly value them, but why give gift vouchers? 

Let's delve into the benefits in a little more detail. 


1. Gift vouchers are easy to organise and you can buy in bulk 

Although gift giving is crucial, it should not take up too much of your time to implement. Giving physical gifts is obviously the biggest drainer of time as you have to choose the gift, buy it and then distribute it.  

Gift vouchers however take very little time to organise. You can also buy them bulk so you always have some ready just in case an occasion has been missed or an employee has achieved an unexpected goal. 


2. Gift vouchers are flexible 

Gift vouchers are extremely adaptable. The recipient is no longer tied to redeeming their vouchers in just one shop. If you want to personalise them further you can choose groups of shops that fit the individual’s tastes and customise them with a personal message. In fact, personalisation is recommended if you want your employee to feel truly appreciated. 

If you do not know what gift vouchers to send then feel free to ask your staff. They will soon let you know their likes and dislikes! Be warned though, if you ask and get it ‘wrong’ you might have an unhappy team on your hands. People want to be listened to when they provide an opinion. 


3. Gift vouchers are cost effective  

Gift vouchers are more tax efficient than gifting cash, saving you money. They are also incredibly easy to organise and implement so you do not need to be concerned about taking up too much crucial time, after all, you need to pay someone to organise whatever gifts you choose to give. 


4. They’re environmentally friendly 

You can choose to gift digital gift cards, or eGifts. Electronic gift cards are wonderful because they have no impact on our environment. The recipient receives a code via email or text that they can redeem with a brand of their choice. As global change is at the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, reducing our footprint is vital.  

Gifting electronically enables you to show your staff and shareholders that you place importance on reducing your global footprint which can filter into their work practices and their attitudes towards the business. 


5. They’re better than cash  

You might think that cash would be a better gift but the truth is, cash just gets swallowed up by bills and costs of living. A gift voucher feels more like, well, a gift! The recipient is more likely to treat themselves with a voucher and therefore appreciate the gesture more. 


How often should you reward my employees? 

This question can be answered one of two ways:  

  • give little and often or  
  • give larger gifts less frequently 

If you choose to gift at celebratory events it’s important you decide which events warrant a gift before you embark on the scheme.  

Then remain consistent.  

Set a budget for each too. Jealousy is an awful breeding ground for lack of productivity and a reduction in morale. 

When you do notify an employee of their reward don’t leave it longer than a week to distribute it, otherwise motivation will suffer. 

And remember, goals must feel achievable.  


What challenges should I be aware of when rewarding my employees? 

While there are plenty of benefits associated with employee rewards, here are a few challenges to be aware of before embarking on launching your recognition scheme. 

Employees may develop a sense of entitlement 

If you gift regularly, you may become exposed to the trap of your team developing a sense of entitlement. If a person expects to receive something they may become less likely to work towards achieving it. It may be a good idea therefore to try to mix up the timing of the gifts.  

Once a goal has been achieved once or twice, move the goal posts ever so slightly. But don’t go too far otherwise you may leave your team feeling unappreciated. Here are some ideas of how to handle a goal-post change

Check the tax implications 

Giving vouchers is a tax-deductible expense (a trivial benefit gift) as long as the value is £50 and under per employee. However before you embark on gifting be sure to check with your finance department. No one likes a surprise from HMRC...

You can read more about using gift cards as a non-taxable trivial benefit here. 


To conclude 

The act of giving is simple but the impact it has is huge.  

Rewarding your employees is such an easy way to boost morale, increase productivity and spread happiness to the people who make your business work every single day.  

Giving gift vouchers is like the sprinkles on a cake. Getting a cake is fine, wonderful even, but the sprinkles, now they make it special. 


If your business is looking for gift vouchers for employees, fill in the form on your right to chat about how we can help. 

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