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  • Writer's pictureHolly Glowaty

Flourish in a Flash: How Gift Cards Can Help in the Changing Economic and Employment Climate

Please note: transcripts are computer generated

Intro 0:04 You're listening to the Flourish in a Flash podcast with the Flourish team, Dez, Holly, Kristen, and Erika. Kristen Thiry 0:15 So welcome everybody to a another live episode of Flourish in a Flash podcast, and live stream on YouTube. We are very excited to have you here and be joined by two guests today. So I really have the great pleasure of welcoming Cindy Mielke and Scotty Greenburg, from Tango Card with me here today. So welcome, you guys. Thanks for joining us. Cindy Mielke 0:35 Thanks, Kristen. Good to be here. Kristen Thiry 0:37 Absolutely. So you guys recently did some research in light of the remote working that we've all been doing over the last month or so on employee engagement and really how gift cards can be used to help with keeping your employees engaged during this time. So maybe if you can, you know, introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about that research that you've done. And then we'll kind of dig into some more questions around that. Scotty Greenburg 1:04 Sure. We wanted to get an answer to the question of are people feeling engaged in a newly remote setting, and maybe what companies could do to make them feel more engaged and also feel more appreciated as they're transitioning to work from home. So the research we did was really about the engagement, but I'm also going to pair that with some research that Qualtrics did on, like mental health, as people kind of, you know, either stop working or work from home, and then kind of highlight a few solutions. And then we're going to do some like some anecdotes as well as what our customers are doing to make customers feel good. So first of all our research, we asked a few questions, the first of which was just Are you feeling engaged We got just over 500 newly remote employees to answer our research. And the first question was roughly 30% feel very engaged as they were transitioning to work from home. And then from there really fell off to somewhat engaged and not very engaged at all. The good base layer that they were reporting was that if their company put out, you know, the zoom or another video conferencing service right away, that helped them feel very engaged, that they had some sort of centralized place to talk about goals and, and kind of discuss how they were tracking toward, you know, still achieving what they needed to do in a work day, that was helping people feel really engaged. And then we asked sort of about some new initiatives or things they could do to help you and have the employees say what would make them feel really engaged and we asked about things like, you know, create a book club or another way to, you know, just create a discussion to bring people together to bring employees and colleagues together to talk about you know, hobbies and books and stuff like that. We also talked about you know, the ability to send a meal or sponsor a lunch or you know, do something that make employees feel appreciated. And we also asked about health initiatives like give people a challenge to go out and take a walk or, or you know, complete some exercise at home or you know, keep a food diary something something to make people make employees feel healthy at home and, and generate the wellness that kind of keeps people engaged and feeling productive and reduces stress. The Qualtrics data that we were seeing is that a lot of people are feeling increased stress, increase anxiety during this time And that includes just as many remote workers as people who aren't able to work at this time. But specifically for remote workers, they're feeling stressed about potential, their job security, but also just basic stuff like like, you know, financial stability, stuff like that. And what people can do at once again, as a base layer is provide ways for people to connect, provide avenues for them to talk to their peers and colleagues, but also their managers and supervisors and create a space where people can really feel heard and listened to so that someone else's, you know, until they can share their stresses and alleviate them a bit. And then the final thing that we were able to connect to was, you know, how do you support an initiative where you make someone feel more appreciated or you make Don't feel engaged at work. And the avenue we often go with that is, you know, do they want a gift card? Or can you kind of give them a way to feel appreciated or supported and then help them out at a time like this with a gift card? And so we answered, or we asked the question, you know, would you like a gift card? Or would you like a meal or would you like a club or an activity to come together on and all were very well received, but the top, you know, 60%, roughly where I'd love a Visa gift card, I'd love an Amazon gift card, then then a grocery delivery gift card or a restaurant delivery gift card, something to, you know, give them a meal or give them some groceries to enjoy. It reduces stress a bit and makes them feel super appreciated when that comes from their manager or from the company as a whole. Kristen Thiry 5:54 That's really great. You know, and I think even from our own personal perspective,we're already a remote company all the time, you know, and I think when this children place head, we did something similar where we sent our employees, you know, a doordash gift card for meal delivery and a, you know, a streaming service of their choice. So we can ask them, you know, what, what do you what do you wish you had that you don't, you know, so that kind of stuff is really interesting and the fact that companies are coming up with new ways of engaging their, their workforce that they can kind of convert more, more than just like that 30% to feeling like really engaged and really good about their work and the fact that it's expanding to things like activities and, you know, some healthy lifestyle stuff is really good because I think for the first couple of weeks, we're all like, okay, I binge watched every show on Netflix, I care to see you know, I finished Netflix. But you know, it's like how else do we get them engaged in tennis, get people energized and and off the couch. That's really interesting, Scotty Greenburg 7:01 I was gonna say and then that sort of, you know, first month, month and a half, two months solution, make them feel appreciated, make them feel like the company is looking out for them. But longer term as there's sort of a new normal, you want to start thinking about longer term strategies. And that's where, you know, an ongoing engagement or maybe award spot reward program can make a lot of impact. That's where we get into more of our general mix of what we would suggest, which is, you know, long term engagement, potentially a wellness, you know, program where you're challenging people to, you know, just share how they're keeping healthy and staying active and eating well. And rewarding them for that. And then also, once again, the you know, bringing people together, whether it's virtual happy hour, Or board game night or, you know, you could play like jackbox whiplash style games or something together something that is keep people engaged personally so that they feel that connection, longer term as we may stay distributed or even as we come back to the office, make people feel like they can share how they're feeling and relieve some of that stress. Kristen Thiry 8:25 Absolutely. I mean, I think you make a great point is that, you know, this is sort of a new normal and and it's, it's yet to be determined what its gonna look like when we all go back to the office. And maybe we do that in ways maybe not everybody goes back full time, you know, who knows kind of what that's gonna look like? So I think the fact that you guys are already starting to think about that and like how to kind of guide your clients in that direction of like, what does that look like and what's the right mix of things to offer, you know, your clients to kind of keep them engaged and give them those, those tools and those those incentives You know, to, to incorporate some of those, like healthier living things into the mix and just keep them, you know, engaged in in this distancing time, but also have to add to this and what that new normal looks like. That's pretty interesting. Cindy, do you have any examples or anything of things that your clients have done that to kind of, you know, get some of these programs up and running or ways that you've kind of consulted folks on adjusting kind of their mix of offers and stuff to keep their workforce a little bit more engaged? Cindy Mielke 9:34 Yeah, I have a couple and Scotty may have a few to add to that, too. So I was gonna add to that, I know if I may step back, just a second to I'll answer that. But when we thought about what was happening, you know, in in February, March, we created the food delivery. So you know, we have a catalogue of hundreds of great brands. But we looked at what do people need now? And I think that's to scotties point about how can we adapt to them? rewards to the times that we're in. And so, Tango very quickly created a very focused food delivery reward that all of the employees that Tango got first which was awesome, like you did Kristin and and then that was something that we offer to our customers that was very well received. And then we kind of called the catalog again into kind of what we called enjoy or use from home. So all the things that we need, tele medicine, gaming streaming, some things that can be delivered, there's also restaurants that can be used to do carry out or delivery. So we kind of created these kind of categorize themed products, if you will, to kind of help during this time. So and when we were talking about what's happening now we had a large hospital system that used our reward link and kind of focused it to the rewards for now. And the entire hospital received them from leadership for obviously everything that they're doing and going through right now and we got some really positive Feedback from one of the recipients and part of their quote, I don't know if it was a hammer, but it was, there could not have been a better time for this to be sent to them. You know, they're struggling with everything they're doing at work and home. So we had also staffing services company, and they had a program they created to help their temporary workers, obviously, a lot of them have a lot of temporary workers who now are not getting work. So they allowed their full time employees to donate a day salary. And that went into kind of a relief fund for those temporary workers. And part of that relief was given to the temporary worker in the form of our home delivery reward like product. Kristen Thiry 11:47 That's great I mean, that's it's really fantastic to hear like how you guys are able to just dynamically change your offering so quickly to have those different things that you could offer to your clients and as a way for them to offer it. to their employees. You know, I think that that's so important right now to be dynamic and to have the ability to make those changes quickly. To address the current need is awesome. Scotty Greenburg 12:12 I mean, I think what we try to do all the time is, is help our customers think about their audience and what rewards are going to make the most sense for their audience. And we got pretty lucky that we had onboard at a bunch of new, you know, digital, and, you know, digital services or delivery services that you could use from home fairly recently. So it paired really well, with with what, where everyone's going today more broadly, you know, both in and out of, of stay at home. And you know, being able to use things from wherever they are, but primarily at home right now. And being able to adapt that that catalog mix for their audience to, you know, to keep them engaged, whether it's employee engagement, but also as you adapt consumer engagement strategies, you know, market research, voice of customer strategies, long term anywhere you might put in a reward or incentive. Always, you know, using the flexibility of a digital catalog to continue engaging your audience is is super important, then what we're always driving for our customers. Cindy Mielke 13:37 Well, what we added to where we expanded the nonprofit so we do have not for profit organizations that we work with, and there was a call for that during this time. So we expanded that catalog very quickly to include those that are really relevant, you know, right now. And there was one more point I was going to make and I lost it. So I'll let you take it for a minute. Kristen Thiry 14:00 It'll come back to one of the questions actually, on the on the category mix topic that you just brought up study. You know, I think we had a question from one of our live viewers. So thank you for the question. Steve asked, Did people want a specific category of giftcard in the survey? And if you could maybe speak to that any results that you had around that in the survey specifically? Scotty Greenburg 14:23 Sure. Yeah. Well, we asked specifically about and I'm gonna, I'm gonna give you a list here, in order, Visa, gift card, Amazon gift card, grocery, gift card, restaurant, delivery gift card, and then dinner delivered coffee or lunch deliver tech accessories. Those are the top few answers. And our spin on that is that pretty much any of those can be accomplished with with run one catalog, essentially, if you have all those in your catalog, And there's often a difference between, you know someone saying what they would want and and what they they pick or what they pick over say two engagements or three engagements with a catalog. So having all of those available in one catalog or one reward is, is what we attempt to do because it's it's the one time appreciation, that is super important. But then it's also over time as you're keeping engagement especially with with a reward program that you really see the benefits of a catalog mech says people's desires change, their level of stress changes their their working situation changes, they might want something different the third time as opposed to the first time. Kristen Thiry 15:49 That's a really great point and I can see how you know, from the beginning of this quarantine process to the end, how people would definitely want different things at the beginning and what they maybe want now. That's a really good point of just making sure you've got that good mix, then you can kind of offer those different options throughout, throughout the customer journey that this has been for all of us. Cindy Mielke 16:11 And during current entering to current times, too, right. And I remembered my point. So it was just about what spurred I think the food delivery gift, reward was the desire along that same line of helping out with helping out local, you know, local restaurants, everybody really had a big and still does have a big affinity for their local restaurants that they love. And so how do we support them? Now, that was kind of one of the big pushes behind that product? Absolutely. Kristen Thiry 16:39 No, that's a great point. And another question that we had actually coming in from the audience is were their denominations different than what you would normally expect did this particular situation we're in have any effect on the denomination that employers were giving their employees or in something their employees with and how has that changed? Scotty Greenburg 17:02 I think that it depends on the use and depends on the result you're trying to derive. And when we say result, we mean do you want them to feel appreciated? Or do you want them to really be really helpful? If you think about a spot award program that's running more generally that's going to be you know, fairly low denomination 10 bucks to $25. But as we think about you know, a one time appreciation gift that's going to be somewhere between 50 and say, $200 so that they can really you know, put it to use on one you know, family dinner, or you know, maybe a couple of grocery orders. You just want to think about what the what you're hoping the employee gets out of it, and then adjust the denomination to match it Cindy Mielke 17:59 One of the use cases that we had, where one of our mobile carrier partners switch their budget from their typical acquisition and incentives to everybody had to go, you know, work from home. And so to show them, they appreciate what they're doing to get that going and and to be engaged, they sent them $100 Digital cards. So that's, again, to Scott's point, it's about what you're trying to give them. If you're trying to give them something to say, I really appreciate this above and beyond and here's a meal or two, that that's kind of value that we saw. So he's exactly on with, with wedding, same use case drivesout. Kristen Thiry 18:38 Yeah. And just, you know, having that flexibility of your clients being able to kind of change the change of the structure, maybe of their incentive program to meet these needs and kind of adjust those those nomination thresholds and just the frequency or, you know, whatever it is that you're, you know, that you're able to help them you know, meet those goals and accommodate I think is really important in these times. So, you know, just kind of keeping everybody engaged and happy in their remote workplaces, you know, whether that's their dining room table, we were all kind of joking, like we're calling in from and I'm like, you know, we just all have to like, adjust and kind of re kind of calibrate, like, what does our office situation looks like right now? What What is that reality and everybody's different, but you know, dining room tables and couches and stuff like that. That's people's office right now. So, you know, it's, uh, keeping them engaged in any way we can and how we can use this data and use your platform and gift cards to kind of help with that initiative is really fascinating. Personally, obviously, I'm giftcard. So I love this data when you guys said that you did a study on the changes specifically and and remind me When was the actual study conducted? It was a couple weeks ago, right? Scotty Greenburg 19:55 Yeah, this study was conducted and we push the data Live on April 9 for the first time. Okay. But I think we have we've definitely still seen lots of orders coming in through today or just purely just some appreciation where we're definitely seeing some orders start to percolate for like nurses we appreciation. My girlfriend's a nurse and she said they often get you know, a water bottle or something as appreciation. But she's really hoping for you know, something that's a little more time effective right now. I wanna say where she works, so they don't want to throw anyone under the bus. But yeah, she didn't she was she, you know, and then her nurse friends so that is a great reward would be something that they can have received, like tons of like donated meals and stuff where they're at work. Once they go home, and you know, they get through all the cheering as they're on their way either to work or from work, they love to relax with a, you know, a dinner or something like that. Cindy Mielke 21:12 Sure. We've kind of expanded that to to, you know, nurses weekend we kind of said Well, there's an and other essential workers that we have are kind of our other everyday heroes. Right. So, there's definitely a lot of interest in that coming through right now. A lot of gratitude. Kristen Thiry 21:31 Absolutely. And that's so important right now, you know, you hear obviously all the bad news but there's also so much good news to you about the gratitude that people are showing and the generosity and everything else, you know, for for the essential workers in our in our healthcare workers as well. So it's good to hear for sure. All right. Final Thoughts on on this study any of the results you know, any kind of final thoughts on any this Cindy Mielke 22:03 The only thing I wanted to share I think you said it Scotty I just wanted to make sure that we reiterated it that it was really targeted to new the work from home people too. So not just those that typically work from home, so I'll let you take it from there. Scotty Greenburg 22:19 Yeah, I was just gonna say, you know, we are we are doing our best to, to put forward a mix of rewards for people to use for exactly how they want to use it if they want to show appreciation. That's awesome. If they want to come up with more of an incentive structure for productivity as people are feeling, you know, maybe a lack of motivation from home. That's a great use case. And the way we set up our catalogs is to have rewards that are extrinsic like, you know, get something for yourself, that are a mix, like a family dinner or that are purely intrinsic like, like, donate your reward to find that it's been a help folks right now. So just keep in mind you know, if you're looking to to derive some result with your program or your you know, ideated on something, then just think about a mix of things that your employees or customers are really going to want or are really going to motivate them or, or kind of pique, whatever's driving them when they receive that reward. Kristen Thiry 23:35 Well, Scotty and Cindy if people want to learn more about Tango Card and your offerings and the study, how would they best get in touch with you and where should they go? tango Scotty Greenburg 23:50 Kristen Thiry 23:50 Fantastic. And we will include that information in the notes and you know, below the YouTube video, we'll put it in the description there as well. So people have that URL and study. And Cindy, thank you so much for joining us. This was a great conversation. Thank you for the timely research and sharing that with us on you know, just friends with everybody newly working from home. So really appreciate it. And thanks again for joining us. Cindy Mielke 24:17 Thanks for having us. Outro 24:21 Flourish in a Flash is produced by K+H Connection, a branded currency consulting firm. You can learn more about K+H and And you can always find out more about Flourish and the Flourish Conference at or follow us on all of our socials on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn it's at flourishcon and on Instagram it's at flourish_con. Transcribed by

Resources and References

Let's Ask — Survey Data Shows Two-Thirds of Newly Remote Workers Feel Engaged

Rewards the Help in Stressful or Uncertain Times

Giving Back in Times of Need

Rewards to Enjoy from Home

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