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Why Rewards Platforms are the Key to Unlocking Team Potential

19 January 2024
Why Platforms are the Key to Unlocking Team Potential

Elaine Keep

“What do points make?” was the hosts’ question on the 1980 UK TV show Play Your Cards Right, to which the audience squealed back, “Prizes!” And while in 1980 you’d have been absolutely thrilled up to your shoulder pads to come away with a calculator watch, nowadays points platforms allow employees to stack up treats like inclusive getaways, iPads, gift cards, experiences and more. Engaging and inclusive, it’s no wonder points platforms are a must for businesses who want to get serious about engaging employees, exciting customers and driving sales. 


Points that can be accrued and cashed in as rewards are the best alternative to other kinds of incentives. But why are they so good? Let’s take a look.


What are employee Rewards platforms?


Employee rewards platforms are structured incentives or rewards set up by a business to motivate team members. Award points are collected by employees for great work, living brand values or collaboration and can then be exchanged for experiences, gift cards or items from either an integrated reward platform or catalogue.


With a bit of pre-planning, you can consolidate your recognition, long service, incentives, e-learning initiatives or even partner sales incentives into one platform.


The main uses of rewards platforms


A rewards platform can be used to reward, recognise, incentivise, motivate, educate and ultimately engage your employees, customers and partners. A program can be created to drive almost any behaviours and results important to you, as long as the delivery method is sound and the rewards are valued.


What doesn’t work? Weak rewards (company swag, we see you!), unachievable targets or exclusivity where the same star players scoop the treats time after time. Yawn.


Why do reward platforms work?


Here’s the science bit. Reward programmes, like a points platform, trigger the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens small doses. Just as a gambler gets dopamine from the roll of the dice, when we get points, we get that same buzz - not necessarily because we really want the prize, it’s because we aren’t sure if today will be the day we get the prize. It’s not the reward, but the ‘reward-uncertainty’ that works. 


Points platforms have the exciting qualities that we love, such as novel rewards that entice our curiosity, a way to show off, to see where we stand in the pecking order (gamification) and to show we are important to the tribe. Leaning into our natural urges in this way has been harnessed everywhere from the apps we use to the hooks on TikTok videos, and with points programmes it’s changing how we do business. A recent study said gamification “can be a powerful solution to address motivational problems within learning or working contexts.”


What can platforms be used for?


Employee recognition

Platforms can be used to improve employee engagement through the use of frequent visible rewards that are aligned with company values. 


Employee engagement

Platforms typically enable employees to give points to others (peer to peer) in order to reward outstanding performance, kindness, eagerness or helpfulness. This improves culture, and therefore employee engagement. Studies have shown engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their organisations.


Milestone rewards

Most programmes will ensure HR or managers can automatically celebrate milestones to ensure employees feel unique and valued at key moments in their time with the business. 


Spot rewards

Spot rewards, where points are given quickly or even forgone for tangible small rewards, such as an eCode or gift card can be powerful ways to enhance engagement by rewarding in the moment. As such, many modern points programmes allow managers access to an agreed monetary value of instant codes they can give without needing sign off.


Incentives (Sales & Channel)

While reward platforms are best known for their powers in unlocking employee potential, they can also help optimise a sales or channel team. Running custom incentives over a year can often be a tall order for one person or team, but with a reward platform, data of sales stats do the hard work, while leaderboards enable healthy competition. 


Learning and Development

Learning and development can and should form part of platform. If you want to get team members enthused around new product launches, brand values or anything else, a great platform will allow you to reward completion of training courses, top scores on instant win quizzes and more.


 What to look for:


1. Usability


  • Check how the programme can be accessed, ensuring it’s not just on a desktop but also available through a mobile/app.

  • Does it have a full self-serve capability or do managers or senior leaders need to step in?

  • If the points and prizes will be given to employees or partners, can they access customer service for questions on redemption?

  • Will you have access to a broader suite of services if you may need them? Consider items such as events & other tax-free rewards. How much flexibility is on offer in general?


2. Exciting but small rewards


While a grand prize is eye-catching, it can alienate team members if it’s unachievable. 


It's critical to look for an inclusive reward solution with relevant and often, smaller value rewards. Small, exciting rewards given as points level the playing field and allow people to access meaningful and tangible treats. With Lifestyle, the reward is the ever-impressive lifestyle Gift Card, which can be used at 200+ retail stores!

3. Flexibility


You may opt to make your points platforms open for teams or individuals, to be visual and gamified, or to be private between a manager and an employee. The choice is yours. Want to encourage peer-to-peer gifts and enhanced office culture? Allow employees to spend a points balance on each other as well (just make sure they can justify their nominations.) Consider how your business would thrive and build a bespoke platform.



4. Branded


A small and obvious one, but often overlooked! A points platform should be fully branded interfaces, so as well as offering enticing rewards you have a great branded experience that aligns with your brand. Check how much customisation there is, and how it can be kept fresh and engaging.


5. One platform to rule them all!


Reward platforms like Lifestyle Points offer a solution for companies aiming to appreciate and motivate their employees where you get all the benefits of a points programme, from the fast and speedy access to a way to do long-term service recognition, peer-to-peer awards, instant incentives, and a way to get sales leaders to implement targets and leaderboards. That’s the kind of thing to look for, as it’s so flexible.



6. Is it able to unlock team potential?


Considering your organisational goals is essential. Why have previous initiatives failed? Perhaps the admin has been a headache. Lifestyle reward platforms provide modules for diverse managerial needs, comprehensive reporting, and easy administration which may be ideal.


Do your HR managers feel that rewards haven’t been aligned with company values, or do sales and trade managers need better tracking to actually give rewards with confidence? Perhaps you have never had a way to engage teams with your programmes to make a culture shift, and you need a place to do that.


Ask your teams what their pain points are in order to get buy-in to your programme.



Get started today


Are you ready to engage your team this year with really amazing reward platforms? Kickstart the concept with Lifestyle Points and you can enhance employee engagement, recognise achievements, and create a positive workplace culture. Take a look at our platforms here.