Show appreciation for your team with rewards and incentives they’ll actually use. We’ve ranked the best gift cards for employees below.
A rewards and recognition program is vital to creating a positive work culture and employee experience. Incentivizing good performance will boost employee morale and reduce employee turnover, which is critical to your company’s success.
One of the best ways to reward your employees is with gift cards. Gift cards, especially if they’re personalized, can be a fundamental part of your recognition and rewards toolkit.
Employees appreciate knowing you value their individual contributions, and gift cards give them a sense of delight at being treated to something different.
However, managing numerous gift cards can be challenging. You need to personalize them to your employees’ interests if they’re going to be effective, which means you should have various types on hand.
Your HR professionals don’t want to have to deal with buying and distributing gift certificates on top of their already busy schedules. And you don’t want to waste money buying gift cards that none of your employees want.
The right software can solve all of these problems by providing numerous options for popular gift cards and handling all of the administrative work for you.
If you don’t have the time to read through our research, jump down to our quick comparison table.
Our Top Picks
Best all-in-one gift card platform for happy employees
Good for companies looking for a dedicated rewards and recognition solution
Good for medium to large companies with a significant budget for the platform
How To Choose Gift Cards for Employees
You can optimize your employee gift card programs by providing a digital gift card and other rewards and incentives through an employee reward program. The best employee reward platform will have features such as:
- Rewards for all types of achievements: You want to be able to reward employees for many different achievements. You may prefer to offer your employee of the month a large gift card while rewarding employees who show up on time regularly with a smaller incentive. A good platform will let you customize the amount and type of employee gift card.
- Multiple types of gift cards: Your employees all have different interests. One may want a Barnes & Noble gift card, while another may be motivated by a gift card to an electronics store. Look for a platform that collaborates with many popular vendors, so your employees feel like their gift card is a real treat rather than something they’ll pass off to someone else because they won’t use it.
- Tracking capabilities: Data about when and where your employees use their gift cards can provide you with important information that allows you to customize and optimize your gift card program.
The 7 Best Gift Card Apps for Employees of 2023
Connecteam is the best all-in-one gift card platform for employees that we’ve found. Its versatility as a rewards app lets you choose from many different gift card options employees prefer. You can reward employees for any minor or major accomplishment through their token system.
Anyone with privileges can reward employees with tokens for completing a task, performing well, or going above and beyond. For example, your employees can earn tokens for completing assigned training or as a bonus on their work anniversary.
If you’re trying to implement new practices, such as using a team communication app, you can send tokens based on the number of times an employee uses the app.
Employees can use their tokens to buy their choice of gift cards. The token system assures that employees can buy gift cards in line with the price point of each vendor.
While a $10 gift card can be perfect at a coffee shop, it won’t buy you much at a tech store. Employees can save their tokens until they can buy a gift card in an amount that lets them purchase what they want.
Connecteam also provides tracking data so you can gain insight into how your employees are using your rewards program. You can monitor how employees engage with your program and make data-driven decisions to improve.
Some other benefits of using Connecteam as your recognition program include:
Ease of use
You won’t need extensive IT support to set up Connecteam, and your employees won’t require lengthy training to use it.
It’s designed to be easy to navigate for users of all technical skill levels. Its intuitive user interface lets you easily set up, customize, and manage your gift card program.
Connecteam lets you create a rewards program that matches your branding and fits in with your business culture. When using the app, it appears as an extension of your company.
You can also choose which vendors to work with and set a specific number of tokens that employees can earn for their accomplishments.
Connecteam doesn’t just manage your employee gift card program. It’s also among the most robust and feature-filled employee management platforms available. You can set and manage employee schedules, manage training and tasks, and handle employee communication — all in one app.
You can reward employees for any kind of achievement
Employees can use tokens to shop for gift cards
Platform includes gift cards from most popular vendors
You can send tokens automatically
Employees are able to redeem tokens on mobile app
You can track who is sending tokens and how they’re being sent
Starts at just $29/month for the first 30 users
Free 14-day trial
Free plan available
In addition to traditional rewards and recognitions, Bonusly allows employees to send the best gift cards for coworkers to each other. Every month, each employee receives an allowance they can use to send small bonuses to their coworkers in recognition of their contributions.
Bonusly provides a public “bonus feed” so everyone can see who’s being rewarded and for what. This adds a social aspect and boosts morale since even minor bonuses are visible to everyone. Bonusly has an engaging interface that helps create a recognition-rich company culture.
In addition to offering a large selection of gift cards from the world’s most popular brands, Bonusly also lets you create your own custom rewards. You can offer fresh-baked cookies, tickets to sporting events, or lunch with the CEO. Bonusly’s tracking features let you gauge which rewards are most meaningful to your employees.
- Solution integrates with existing workflows
- Provides analytics to help you evaluate reward trends
- Manager dashboard lets you personalize bonuses by teams/departments
- Comes with digital signage options
- Makes bonuses social
- Very customizable
- Only useful for rewards and recognition program
- No free plan
Starts at $2.70/user/month
Free Plan: No
Awardco is an awards and recognition platform that allows you to recognize and reward your employees with points that can be used for gift cards, hotels, tickets, a company store, and charitable donations.
You can use various customizable features to tailor the platform to your specific needs, such as social recognition, personal milestones, and experience rewards. You can even set recognitions to private for employees who don’t want to be recognized publicly.
- Customizable rewards
- Integrates with common HR systems
- Social feed that allows additional comments
- Versatile point system for choosing rewards
- Integrates with many HR platforms
- No refunds for cards
- $5,000 minimal annual fee
Contact vendor for price
Free Plan: No
Nectar is an employee-recognition software solution that helps you create a positive work culture and promote your company values. It allows you to send shoutouts throughout the day or award points that can be redeemed for gift cards.
Nectar helps you promote company values by using hashtags to align rewards and recognition with specific attributes. You can even promote cultural values through customized challenges that allow your employees to earn points.
In addition to allowing managers and employees to recognize employees when the mood strikes, you can automate some rewards as well. Automating work anniversaries and birthday recognition means you’ll never miss one of these major employee milestones.
- Lets you set custom challenges
- Allows peer-to-peer recognition
- Gives you the ability to promote specific values with hashtags
- You can allow employees to self-approve or require managerial approval
- Free trial
- Integrates with existing software platforms
- Employees may find points difficult to use
- Not visible unless you specifically log in
Starts at $2.50/user/month
Free Plan: Yes
WorkTango is an employee experience platform that creates social validation for recognition, incentives, and rewards. The activity feed allows employees to recognize each other and add personal messages, emojis, and GIFs to their social feeds.
Employees can redeem points for a wide range of awards in WorkTango’s catalog, including gift cards, merchandise, experiences, and charitable giving. You can also create custom rewards to better align with your company’s values.
WorkTango also provides data analysis on your rewards program so you can gain insights into how your program promotes your company’s values and core competencies. You can sort results by job description, department, location, or any other subset of your HR data.
- Activity dashboard
- Peer-to-peer recognition
- Goal management
- Analytics to help you identify key culture influencers
- Free trial
- Global rewards for dispersed teams
- Workflow can be non-intuitive
- Limited export functionality
Contact customer service for customized pricing
Free Plan: Yes
Motivosity is a platform intended to promote employee engagement by empowering managers. Its reward and gift card program centers around the “ThanksMatters” card. Motivosity uses dollars instead of points or tokens. As employees accrue recognition, the balance of their card increases.
The ThanksMatters card is a Visa card that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. It’s a great option for rewarding your dispersed employees who are located in other regions. Appreciation, milestones, and awards can all be added to the card immediately and redeemed whenever your employees want them.
In addition to the ThanksMatters card, employees can also shop from a customizable company store. They can choose from gift cards, company swag, and local offerings.
- Social feed for peer-to-peer recognition
- Personal profiles
- Highlights and announcements
- Interest groups
- Free version
- Versatile reward options, including a Visa card for offline spending
- Documentation limitations for managers
- Difficulty tracking who’s been rewarded
Starts at $5/person/month
Free Plan: Yes
Guusto lets you implement a phased approach to building a reward and incentive program. You can begin by implementing and funding a pilot program for your key managers. Once your pilot program is well-received, you can roll a comprehensive plan out to your entire organization.
Guusto offers mobile app, web, and print options so all employees can be included. Guusto extends this inclusivity to the types of budgets you can use. You can run multiple programs that are paid from different budgets.
- Automated tracking for tax purposes
- Accommodates employees without access to tech
- Uses dollars instead of points
- Only pay for users who send recognition (recipients are free)
- Free program
- Social impact through partnership with One Drop Foundation
- Navigation menu can be confusing
- Inability to schedule rewards for a particular day
Starts at $1.50/user/month
Free Plan: Yes — For a single user
Compare the Best Gift Card Apps for Employees
What Are Gift Cards for Employees?
Gift cards can be used as part of an employee reward and recognition program. They’re designed to create a positive work culture by rewarding employees who perform well or achieve specific objectives with gift cards. They’re also used to incentivize training or professional development activities.
Employees who feel valued are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and engaged with their work. Many companies that use gift cards for rewards do so to improve the overall work experience for their employees. Most employees enjoy receiving gift cards as well as the public recognition they get for performing well.
How Do Gift Cards for Employees Work?
Although gift cards can be physically purchased and distributed, many companies choose to use a virtual employee experience platform to make it easier to recognize and reward employee performance.
The best employee gift card platforms allow you to create a budget for employee rewards and distribute funds among coworkers or managers, depending on who will be giving the rewards.
When someone recognizes an employee for their work, that employee is given money or points/tokens that can be used as a monetary equivalent. Once an individual has enough in their account, they can purchase a gift card. These gift cards are usually digital and can be used in various stores.
The Benefits of Gift Cards for Employees
Gift cards are a great way to recognize and reward employees. When your employees feel valued, they’re more likely to stay at your company. Replacing disgruntled employees is far more expensive than making your current employees happy.
As a reward, gift cards are a flexible and highly customizable option. You can tailor gift cards to your employees’ interests or let them choose their own. You can also provide gift cards in various amounts — from $5 coffee shop gift cards for small actions to $100 gift cards for significant achievements.
Rewarding your employees based on their performance conveys your appreciation and improves morale. Happy employees are infectious, creating a more positive work culture for everyone. In today’s tight labor market, attracting and retaining top talent with an encouraging environment can give your company a competitive edge.
How Much Do Gift Cards for Employees Cost?
The actual price of gift cards will vary dramatically, and the cost depends entirely upon what you’re willing to spend. Of course, the platforms that simplify and streamline the employee recognition program will typically have fees. Some platforms require a minimum in yearly fees or mark up costs for gift cards. Connecteam offers a Small Business Plan that’s 100% free for up to 10 users.
When you’re evaluating employee gift card programs, compare the functionality of platforms as well. Some platforms are only for employee rewards and recognition, whereas others, such as Connecteam, are all-in-one employee management platforms.
What Is the Best Gift Card To Give an Employee?
Every employee is different, so there’s no single gift card that fits every employee. The best option is to allow your employees to choose the gift card they want from various options.
Is It Okay To Give Gift Cards to Employees?
Giving gift cards to employees is a great way to reward them for performing well or going above and beyond the call of duty. Gift cards show your appreciation in a tangible form.
Can I Give My Employees Gift Cards for Christmas?
Absolutely. Holiday gift cards are the perfect gift for showing your employees you value them. Instead of a bland, generic gift, you can give your employees something they want and will use.
The Bottom Line On Gift Card Apps for Employee
Recognizing and rewarding your employees for their large and small accomplishments will help you create a positive environment where everyone feels appreciated for their unique contributions. They will also demonstrate your investment in their growth and success.
A positive employee experience can help reduce turnover and increase engagement. However, it can be difficult to manage employee rewards and deal with physical gift cards.
Using an employee gift card platform like Connecteam makes the entire process easier.
Connecteam’s easy-to-use platform lets you improve all aspects of the employee experience, including your gift card rewards program.