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Stephanie Galioto
Manager, Client Services

Engage Employees With Summer Fun Rewards

Summer’s almost over, but the fun isn’t. The beach still beckons, the grill isn’t covered (yet), and there’s still time for a quick getaway before school starts. This is the time you can boost employee engagement with rewards that tap into the spirit of summer. Here are some thoughts about summer to get you started on promoting your summer fun rewards program:

Entertainment everywhere. Or so it seems. Summer is the time when outdoor concerts hit their stride. Amusement parks are going strong. And outdoor dining draws every generation to enjoy a bit of alfresco in the summer breezes. Gift cards for entertainment venues or restaurants are a popular summertime reward option in employee engagement programs.

Free-floating fun. There’s something about summer that pushes against planning. A last minute- trip to an outdoor mall or escape to the movies is somehow just more fun because it isn’t planned. That’s where pre-paid debit cards come in. They make spontaneous possible. Your employees will love seeing pre-paid debit cards in your employee engagement program.

Gadgets and grills. Summer fun requires stuff—like grills, tents, outdoor game equipment, or folding chairs that go anywhere. The trouble is, this same stuff can break down or even get lost during a summer of hard use. Replacing them is no problem if your employees have been rewarded with a pre-paid debit card or a gift card for their favorite outdoor-oriented merchant.


Non-cash rewards are popular any time of the year and company employee engagement programs are responding to the demand. The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) recently cited a study showing that 20 percent increase in non-cash rewards for employees in just two years, moving from 53 percent in 2013 to 72 percent in December 2015.

The IRF reported earlier this year that three-quarters of U.S. businesses spend more than $77 billion annually on “…non-cash rewards and recognition to motivate and engage their workforce on some level….”

Personalize employee rewards

As you’re thinking about rewards that grab attention this summer, keep in mind the importance of personalization. If your workplace is like most, you probably have multiple generations represented, from the youngest of the Millennials to the older Boomers. This can affect the choice of reward you offer. We’ve found that a plastic card has multi-generational appeal, and e-cards tend to be favored by younger generations (although not exclusively).

Generational differences can also influence how your summertime employee engagement program is promoted. Engaging employees with rewards that can be used for high-intensity, outdoor activities might appeal to one group, but you’ll want to balance that message by pointing out options that speak to a desire to just kick back, like outdoor dining or picnics.

Reassess rewards for flexibility

As you look at the fun factor of your employee engagement program, this could be a good time to reassess its flexibility. Does your program include pre-paid debit cards that can be used anyplace, anytime? Does it include added benefits that could excite and motivate your employees? Could a platform that enables easy self-enrollment be a good option for your organization and for your program participants?

By highlighting rewards that speak to fun in the sun, you’ll keep employee engagement going strong, despite summertime distractions. And by using the (usually) less demanding months of summer to step back and re-evaluate your current program, you might find some new directions that keep engagement high no matter what the season.


Are you looking for a way to disburse and distribute rewards instantly? MIFunds is new technology from Marketing Innovators that rewards employees who participate in your employee engagement program with a pre-paid debit card. Disbursement for administrators is quick and efficient, and employees receive their rewards in a timely, secure, convenient fashion. To learn more about MIFunds, contact a Marketing Innovators solutions expert today.


Sources: “Incentive Marketplace Incentive Research Study,” July 21, 2016. “IRF 2016 Trends in Incentive Travel, Rewards, and Recognition, January 22, 2016.