These days employers need to offer their employees more than just a salary and benefit plan.  Even in a soft job market, companies need to retain their talented people by creating a rewarding environment that keeps their employees motivated.  That’s why gift card rewards are becoming more popular as an incentive program for employees.

They’re often perceived as better value than cash, and can be purchased in as little as $5 or $10 increments, which is perfect for a quick “thank you” to your staff.

Related: Redeem Air Miles For Gift Cards

Best Gift Card Rewards

If you’re looking for the best gift card rewards for your employee incentive program, consider these options:

Clothing

If you are setting up a corporate incentive program with gift card rewards you probably want to limit your choices to the stores that offer a broad range of items.  For apparel, that means sticking with a unisex clothing store that appeals to both men and women.

Stores like The Gap and Old Navy have a wide range of clothing for men, women and children and are available in most large communities.  For an even broader selection you can try a department store like The Bay (HBC Rewards) and Winners.

If you have the capability to offer gender specific gift card rewards then try Mark’s Work Wearhouse for men and Lulu Lemon for the ladies.

Home and Garden

Another area where gift card rewards would come in handy is in the home and garden centres.  Canadians love shopping at places like Home Hardware, Home Depot and of course, Canadian Tire.

These stores are great all year round, from garden supplies in the spring to Christmas decor in the winter.  Your employees will definitely find something worthwhile at a home and garden store.

Books, Music and Movies

Sometimes the best gift card rewards are for entertainment items that your employees might not typically purchase regularly for themselves.  For books you can try Chapter’s in-store or online gift cards.

Apple has revolutionized the music industry with iTunes, which make for great gift card rewards that can be purchased almost anywhere.  For movies, Galaxy Cinemas dominates the theatres across Canada and their gift cards can be purchased in-store or online.

Related: Cineplex SCENE Rewards Card

Restaurants

No gift card rewards list would be complete without including some of Canada’s favourite restaurants.  Some of the best Canadian restaurants include The Keg, Moxie’s, Earl’s, Olive Garden and Red Lobster.  While employees will certainly have their preferences as far as dining goes, these chains are known for their quality food and service.

Add Gift Card Rewards to your Incentive Program

Offering your employees an extra bonus in the form of gift card rewards will go a long way towards creating a positive culture at your company.  Gift cards have a high utility and hold a lot of perceived value in the eyes of the card holder.

The recession has been hard on companies and employees alike.  Bonuses were eliminated and wages were frozen.

Keep your employee satisfaction at a high level by offering small gift card rewards as an incentive for great performance or for outstanding loyalty.  Even a $5 gift card for Tim Horton’s coffee  is a great and affordable way to say thanks to your employees.

What are some other great gift card rewards out there?

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