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How SureGifts corporate rewards, loyalty solutions can help HR managers stay within budget

Bunmi Simoyan (Head of Human Resources, SureGifts), Taiwo Judah-Ajayi (Senior Director, People at Andela), Emmanuel Michael (Head of People Experience, Letshego), Lola Esan (Director of People & organization, Ernst & Young West Africa), Nkechi Runsewe (Head, Talent & Organisational Development, FBNQuest Merchant Bank)
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SureGifts, a rewards, loyalty and online gifting company, recently held its first HR workshop themed, ‘A Networking Workshop on the Rise of Digital Revolution in Human Resources’ to empower human resource professionals, talent managers and finance heads on how to steer organisational growth through recognition and reward system leveraging technology. SEYI JOHN SALAU examines the role gift cards and e-vouchers can play in improving the overall employee experience and organisational culture.

A successful ‘employee reward system’ optimally improves morale and keeps staff focused on the overall organisational goals. Hence, gifting within an organisation is a clear message to staffers from human resource (HR) managers that the employer really appreciates their contribution to the organisation, especially its ‘bottom line’ (profits).

In Nigeria, most organisations usually tie their rewards and recognition to festive seasons and year end. Employees are accustomed to receiving traditional gifts such as rice, oil, chicken, cakes and hampers filled with all sorts of provisions and food items. However, organisational rewards and recognition system can be remodeled to help both the organisation and employees save resources for long time purposes through gift cards and electronic vouchers (eVouchers).

 “Small gifts have a powerful psychological effect. This effect can be disproportionate to their value when they are viewed by the recipient as recognition of a job well done or a special effort made. Sometimes employees are happy with a word of thanks and do not feel a small gift is necessary. However, the act of giving is a strong, almost ceremonial way to provide recognition to employees,” said David Tong, a senior consultant at Mercer.

 Panelists at the one-day HR workshop opined that reward contribution should be meaningful to employees, and it should carry some monetary value. According to the panelists, people change because of the benefit of the change, hence there is a need for corporate organisations to incorporate gift vouchers into their reward and recognition scheme.

 “HR must design and development a strong communication strategy; you can never over communicate. Employees’ reward and recognition must be tied to organizational goals,” Emmanuel Michael, the head of people experience, Letshego Microfinance Bank.

 However, for Lola Esan, director of people and organization, Ernst & Young West Africa, “Organization and clients need to engage. Identify some good reward system packages tied to money” that is, the reward system must have some monetary value, said Lola.

 “Employees’ recognition and reward is a culture within an organisation and has to be organic in nature,” said Nkechi Runsewe, head, talent and organisational development, FBNQuest Merchant Bank.

 Often times, companies allocate budgets to rewards annually, of which allocations for activities and plaques relating to retreats, long service awards, birthdays, anniversaries, employee of the month, giveaway campaigns and more are catered. In most cases however, a large part of the budget is spent on logistics and packaging which reduces the actual offer to the selected recipients. This in itself is a problem.

 However, SureGifts has identified this and has positioned to help companies solve this issue with electronic or physical gift cards. By loading amounts on gift cards, branding them with company elements, and disseminating, companies cut out the stress and excessive logistic costs.

 SureGroup offerings to Nigeria’s digital ecosystem

 SureGroup is a pan-African group of companies providing global solutions for non-cash value transfers. The group’s primary business offering is in connecting brands and people through its branded value solutions.

 The group includes SureGifts, SureCredit and SureRemit. SureGifts is Nigeria’s largest and leading sole aggregator and distributor of gift cards, which makes the company the pioneer of the online gift voucher redemption system. SureGifts also retail gift cards for merchants and different brands.

 SureGifts is addressing the logistical challenge associated to gifting, thereby making it easy, both for recipient and for the sender to plan and deliver a reward and recognition system that is redeemable online and offline.

 Established in 2014, SureGifts began as a small business exploring an unusual gifting solution in Nigeria: gift cards. In the U.S.A and other Western countries, gift cards are ingrained in the culture of gifting and giving, and hold a mass appeal as its use cuts across digital, mobile and physical channels, unlike traditional gifts that come as specific products or items.

 Through its loyalty solution, SureGifts has been able to build and develop custom loyalty platforms that are tailored to meet business needs. It equally integrates into existing loyalty solutions for point-voucher conversion and redemption. Also, within its four years of operation in Nigeria, SureGifts have sold N2 billion worth of gift cards with over 500 merchants on its platform.

 Aside from handling rewards and loyalty, SureGifts has noted its vision to build a formidable data-driven business in order to help companies make more informed decisions on incentives, promotions and consumer behaviour.

 “We’re in a data-driven economy that requires a deep understanding of buyers by studying patterns in purchasing behaviour. Having launched the first online gift card business in Nigeria, SureGifts possesses a wealth of knowledge about the rewards and gifting culture in Nigeria, especially in the digital sense. With this knowledge, we’re working towards helping businesses build better relationships with their employees,” said Omolara Awoyemi, the managing director of SureGroup.

 Why digital gifting and voucher is beneficial to companies

 A gift card is a proven effective financial way to motivate and reward employees. It is perfect for benefits and occasions such as birthdays, weddings, holidays, rewards, anniversaries, and bonuses. It constitutes an elegant and perfect gift that allows the recipient with the freedom of choice.

 Recipients of a gift card can even deploy it to pay for their utility bills. With gift cards, companies no longer have to worry about the size, colour or how trendy and functional a gift is.

 In Nigeria, gift cards have also proven effective for many reasons. Its customizability, portability (can also be delivered via e-mail) and limitless access have been some of the reasons why HR managers go for this solution.

 Also, rather than restricting employees to tangible items like rice, oil, cakes, and others, gift cards give the freedom of choosing gifts from an infinite range of items from some of the biggest stores across Nigeria including JumiaSPARSamsungFilmhouse Cinemas, HubmartRuff and TumbleGame, Startimes, and other merchants on its platform.

 By deploying gift cards for reward and recognition, employers of labour will easily stay within budget, since gift cards are not affected by inflation or short supply. It also saves the trouble of products sourcing, and schedule timely events such as employee top of mind awareness.

 Gift cards gives visibility of spending and history of spending is available in real-time. No transaction fees for digital vouchers and are customizable to employee event or occasion. Gift cards can be sent to thousands of employees with no logistics costs involved.

 Motivated employees are good for the performance of the company. Greatest possible freedom of choice memorable trophy gift creating lasting reminder of an achievement with guilt-free spending. However, gift cards also help to improve employee performance long-term positive feelings towards the organisation.

 An employee incentive is designed to increase overall work performance, reduce turnover, boost morale and loyalty. It also has sales executive incentive programmes intended to motivate salespeople to achieve set goals, as well as consumers and stakeholders’ incentive programmes.

 “When companies give their customers our branded cards, and the recipient uses the card, they often come back to us when they want to give a friend or family a gift. They always enjoy the experience and desire to pass it on.

 “The good thing about our cards is they don’t expire and it is more like kept cash for the recipient who can use it to buy stuff when they are broke or urgently need something,” said Adeoye Ojo, director and co-founder, SureGroup.

 According to Ojo, SureGifts was set to deploy gift cards as a medium through which funds can be raised for projects and causes. “This will best suit corporate bodies’ charitable giving and Community Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Recipients will be empowered to choose exactly what they need and when they need them the most.”

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