A Better Alternative to Giving Gift Cards to Employees

We’re in the era of pri­or­i­tiz­ing employ­ee health and hap­pi­ness, and giv­ing gift cards to employ­ees is a step in the right direc­tion. Gift cards can be a sim­ple and effec­tive way that lead­ers can show their team mem­bers that they care.

How­ev­er, gift cards also have some draw­backs. It’s impor­tant to real­ize that gift cards don’t always go the extra mile — and lead­ers should want their employ­ees to feel prized and val­ued. Let’s take a look at why gift cards no longer make the cut when it comes to employ­ee recog­ni­tion and appreciation.

How Gift Cards Fall Short

An Adidas gift card is laying against a white background.


Too often, gift cards are imper­son­al and bought en masse. A com­pa­ny will pur­chase a bun­dle of $15 Star­bucks gift cards and hand them out on birth­days, anniver­saries, and recog­ni­tion events.

This con­cept sounds great in the­o­ry, and it might be a sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit for some peo­ple in the office. How­ev­er, what about the employ­ee who doesn’t drink cof­fee or is on a restric­tive diet?

What about the employ­ee who would much rather have that $15 in cash? Too often, a gift card isn’t per­son­al enough, and it doesn’t real­ly get to the core of what each indi­vid­ual team mem­ber needs to be hap­py and healthy.

Peo­ple want to feel appre­ci­at­ed by their lead­ers, but a gen­er­al, imper­son­al gift card isn’t going to do the trick.

Sure, com­pa­nies can per­son­al­ize gift cards and choose spe­cif­ic places or stores for each employ­ee. For instance, a super­vi­sor can pur­chase a gift card to the movie the­ater for the employ­ee who loves the movies and a gift card to a local com­e­dy club for the one who loves comedy.

Per­son­al­iz­ing gift cards is a much bet­ter way to take care of employ­ees on an indi­vid­ual lev­el. How­ev­er, get­ting gift cards for each per­son isn’t always prac­ti­cal. It also elim­i­nates the abil­i­ty to give per­son­al­ized recog­ni­tion in the moment.

Plus, there are some def­i­nite short­com­ings with gift cards:

  • Gift cards can feel like a one-off gift and not a gen­uine effort at con­tin­u­al care and appre­ci­a­tion. In that way, they’re a short-term fix to the long-term need of employ­ee well-being. 

  • Gift cards often can’t solve the day-to-day needs of employ­ees. For exam­ple, things like gro­ceries, trans­porta­tion, gym mem­ber­ships or stream­ing ser­vices are often incom­pat­i­ble with gift cards.

So, how can employ­ers pro­vide the ben­e­fits of gift cards with­out the inher­ent downfalls?

A Better Alternative to Gift Cards

Two people are shaking hands and smiling at each other. One is wearing a suit with a patterned button-up, and the other is wearing a brown jacket, glasses, and dress slacks.


One way that com­pa­nies can get the ben­e­fits of gift cards with­out the draw­backs is by offer­ing cus­tomiz­able fringe ben­e­fits through the Fringe platform.

Here at Fringe, our cus­tomiz­able ben­e­fits plat­form allows lead­ers to give points to employ­ees as part of the reg­u­lar ben­e­fits pack­age or in real-time for recog­ni­tion, birth­days, and celebrations. 

Like gift cards, our online ben­e­fits mar­ket­place is easy to use, flex­i­ble, and com­plete­ly cus­tomiz­able. Employ­ees can use their points to choose impact­ful lifestyle ben­e­fits that best improve their hap­pi­ness and reduce stress. 

Our plat­form helps save time and mon­ey for com­pa­nies by con­sol­i­dat­ing exist­ing ven­dors, stipends, and reim­burse­ment pro­grams into a sim­ple, auto­mat­ed plat­form. No more hav­ing to go out and buy gift cards in bulk or spend­ing time search­ing for a gift card tai­lored to one employ­ee — we are here to make life eas­i­er and help give employ­ees the feel­ing of indi­vid­u­al­ized appreciation.

Talk to our team to get start­ed today!