by Deanna Ting | September 11, 2012
This holiday season, even the smallest gift card rewards could have a major impact on employee motivation and recognition. In its “2012 Employee Holiday Incentives” survey, global incentive company Parago (, found that while most employees still do not expect end-of-year gifts from their employers, they are even more appreciative of small rewards than they were in 2011. 

According to the survey results, 61 percent of employees said that a $25 prepaid card would meet their expectations, and 85 percent said they would be happy with $100 or less. The research also shows that employers who are able to reward staff this holiday season will foster loyalty and instill a positive morale.

The 2012 survey was conducted independently through online delivery and surveyed more than 600 employees. Key findings of the research included the following:

Holiday Incentives Are Still Not Expected
69 percent of employees do not expect their employers to give end-of-year rewards or holiday gifts this year, the identical response from 2011.

A Small Reward Goes a Long Way
This year, employees are satisfied with even smaller rewards than the year before. Sixty-one percent of respondents said it would take just a $25 prepaid card to meet their expectations, up from 55 percent in 2011. Additionally, 85 percent of employees reported that an end-of-year reward of a prepaid card valued at $100 or less would meet their expectations, up from 84 percent last year. 

Rewards Will Boost Morale
Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said that a reward would make them feel either appreciated, motivated to work harder or more loyal to the company, up from 81 percent in 2011. Eighty-two percent of employees said that receiving an end-of-year reward would mean that they had done a great job and worked hard, or that their employer appreciates and/or values them, up from 79 percent in 2011.

Prepaid Cards Are Preferred
When given the choice of a $50 Visa or MasterCard prepaid card, or $50 worth of gift cards as an end-of-year reward or holiday gift, 81 percent of those surveyed would choose a prepaid card.  When asked about their favorite features of prepaid cards, the majority of employees pointed to the fact that prepaid cards can be spent anywhere the card brand is accepted, and at multiple retailers.

“This data shows a huge opportunity for employers to foster a loyal environment and maintain a productive workforce, because employees are satisfied with smaller holiday rewards and feel even more appreciated and motivated when they receive them,” says Juli Spottiswood, president and CEO, Parago. “This is positive news for employers still struggling in the tough economy, because it reveals simple ways that they can keep employees loyal and thereby maintain a productive and competitive business.”