Why Do Employees Forget To Redeem Their Reward Points?

A challenging concern that recognition program owners often have is when employees do not redeem their reward points that they have received.

This situation leaves the unresolved concern for organizations having a liability for these points until employees redeem their points and are paid for. 

One question that is often asked is how come employees haven’t redeemed their points yet? Have they forgotten what they have? Do they know how to redeem them?

I will share some observations with you and let’s see if together we can address the issues. 

When Point Rewards Lose Meaning

Unfortunately, point rewards as an incentive and reward vehicle are only as good as the value place on the points and how employees perceive the value.

You don’t reward points seen like tickets spat out from arcade whack-a-mole games only to redeem for trinkets. 

Small Number of Points 

When people only have a small bank of points that they’ve received, it is not a big incentive to redeem them. 

One way to get around this is besides using points as an incentive for performance, to consider giving points for Employee Appreciation day and as an end-of-year gift. That way, you increase the point balance and increase the possibilities for higher valued reward items.

Limited Selection Options 

Again, having limited gift selection is especially the case for a smaller balance of rewards. But limited options can also affect those with higher point reward balances, too. 

Work with your provider and their merchandising team to find out from your staff more of their wants and needs. Survey employees and perhaps hold focus groups to identify what appears to be missing.

Explore revising the catalogue and then promoting the upgrade gift selection when changes occur.

Make sure your vendor advises you and communicates out to employees whenever merchandise items are being discontinued. That’s the time to prepare a communication campaign to discount the number of points required to purchase these discontinued items. 

Desire for Wishlist Items

Most vendor run programs provide a widget on recognition and reward programs where employees can identify on a wishlist what they want from the reward catalog. 

Managers can work with staff to do some reverse planning and determine the number of points required for these desired gift rewards. Work with your employees on what they would need to do to earn those number of points. This becomes a great performance management process.

Lack of Opportunity for More Points 

There are some jobs where it can appear there are fewer occasions available for employees to earn points for major results. When this occurs, then having a few points on hand, employees can perceive this as a negative in the eyes of staff. Others get rewards and they don’t.

However, there may well be times to give a team of employees points for collectively meeting quality targets and time expectations for a specific time period, such as quarterly.

Reminders of Point Balance 

One of the glaringly obvious facts around employees not redeeming their rewards points is that they don’t know how many points they have. All employees should receive an email notification of how many points they have on hand.

This is just like receiving a statement for any loyalty reward points from your preferred hotel, the grocery story, or airline. Employees need occasional reminders that they have points. 

Then send the scheduled email specifying their points total. Make sure to also provide the quick link to where they can redeem their points from.

Other Solutions

Identify What Deserves Rewards 

Keep in mind you recognize behaviors and that you reward results.

When you give recognition to people, you don’t have to give them a reward. However, if the action and results achieved merit receiving reward points, make sure you also recognize them as well.

You might have to ask whether all employees have performance goals that actually warrant receiving rewards. If not, take a fresh look at everyone’s work responsibilities and see what performance targets could be set up. Then create a reward matrix with specific point reward criteria associated with levels of results, consistency, frequency, and people or outcomes affected.

Intuitive Redemption Process 

Always have your recognition and reward program easily accessible and easy to find. Make the redemption process easy to follow. Review the redemption process in staff meetings once a quarter.

Set Clear Expectations

Lay out the requirements for receiving rewards as well as when you would like to see employees redeem their points by. Otherwise, if the employee is accumulating rewards for a larger or more expensive item, flag it as a longer-term redemption. 

Provide Ongoing Feedback 

Periodically review the reward point situation with staff to get their input on things. Pass this along to your vendor or to your internal information technology team.

Communicate In Multiple Ways 

Use a variety of communication channels to encourage point redemption. Don’t just rely on automated email notifications. Have tent cards in the cafeteria showing the latest discounted items available for redeeming. Use the LCD screens throughout the organization. Make use of widgets on the intranet site to show the latests and greatest gift rewards. 

Show People How To Redeem 

Bottom line is to make sure that you show employees how to redeem their points online for the amazing rewards available. 

This may require a simple voiced over video tutorial on how to use your recognition and reward program. Show samples from the catalog so people know what is available. Provide a step by step, 1,2, 3 approach on what they need to do to redeem points. 

Helping employees redeem their reward points is all about showing them how. 

Recognition Reflection: How do you currently notify and show employees how to redeem their reward points?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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