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It’s natural to gravitate to programs offered for free, but it’s also common to question what the catch might be. Employee discount programs aim to attract and retain employees and foster a positive work environment.

While some programs are effective at achieving these goals, others may need to offer more value to maintain employee engagement and may even be the subject of ridicule among staff. Ensuring that a discount program provides meaningful benefits can ensure its success and increase its usage among employees.

Adoption and Engagement is Very Important

When choosing between a free item or a similar item with a cost, it’s essential to ask why the option is free. The saying “follow the money” can often provide insight into the reasoning behind the offer. While taking advantage of a seemingly “free” employee discount program may be tempting, it’s essential to remember that these programs may not offer the same value as those with a cost.

Here Is What They Don’t Want You To See

Several potential drawbacks to free employee discount programs may take time to be apparent. Before offering such a program as a benefit to your employees, it may be worthwhile to consider the following:

These programs may generate revenue through affiliate offers, which means a portion of the available discount margin is removed from each transaction. The result is lower discounts for your employees and may make the program less appealing to them in the long run.

  • The focus on maximizing profits for the discount program provider may lead to the promotion of the most profitable deals for them rather than the deepest discounts that would appeal to your employees.
  • Free employee discount programs may only offer discounts that they can monetize, such as online-based deals, rather than in-store discounts at popular places like restaurants.
  • These programs may use tricks to make it appear like they have a more extensive network of participating merchants than they do, making it difficult to compare competing programs accurately.
  • The deals offered through these programs may not be exclusive or unique and may be readily available to the general public through online searches or deal aggregators.
  • Free employee discount programs may sell your employees’ usage and redemption data. This practice is too common and may not even be disclosed in the contract.
  • These programs may need a customer service department to address any issues, leaving your employees to resolve problems independently or relying on your HR department.
    The lack of a direct relationship with merchants may make free employee discount programs challenging to solve problems or access deeper, limited-time discounts.

Investing In The Right Opportunities

As employees become more likely to seek out new opportunities or change jobs, companies increasingly need to offer benefits that will attract and retain their workforce.

Offering meaningful benefits can not only help a company attract new talent, but it can also improve retention rates and positively impact the company’s bottom line. Studies have shown that companies with high employee engagement tend to retain a more significant percentage of their customers.

While free or cheap employee discount programs may seem appealing, they may need to engage or retain employees more effectively. Offering a low-quality discount program may frustrate employees and harm the company’s reputation. Instead of risking this outcome, consider alternative options or not offer a discount program at all.

The Long And Short Of It

An employee discount program is meant to strengthen the relationship between employer and employee by allowing them to save money. Successful programs require offering relevant and substantial discounts, promoting the program effectively, and providing excellent customer service. These elements are necessary for the program to be valuable enough to keep your employees interested over time.

On the other hand, a well-designed employee discount program can be an excellent tool for engagement and may cost about as much as giving your employees a small treat each month. When an employee can use the program to save a few hundred dollars regularly, it can offer a strong return on investment compared to other benefits. Additionally, this benefit is inclusive and allows every employee to stretch their paychecks further.

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