Employee Discounts: The Secret Benefit

eediscountThere’s a secret benefit that if packaged and promoted properly can provide an immediate boost to the perceived value of your employee benefits package. I’m talking about employee discounts, the kind offered to an organization’s employees by merchants and suppliers on a host of products and services including auto insurance, rental cars, dry cleaning and theme park tickets. Employees love them, but most companies grossly underestimate their value and consequently do a poor job of administering and communicating them. They don’t realize that many employees are more interested in a Verizon cell phone discount than they are in matching contributions to a 401(k).

When communicated well, employee discounts can positively affect recruiting, retention, job satisfaction and ultimately employee engagement. And just like other benefits, the perceived value of employee discounts is influenced as much by how well they are communicated as by the discounts themselves.

Employee discounts are a benefit that costs a company nothing because most businesses, even small and mid-size companies, already have discount programs in place. But the administration of them is often scattered throughout the company and communications about them is usually fragmented or non-existent. But you can change that. Here are four steps to unleash the power of your employee discounts:

Step #1: Identify all Employee Discounts Available to Your Employees. The employee benefits team probably is coordinating many discounts but other departments may be the point of contact for other discounts. For example, IT may be the liaison with suppliers such as Dell or HP that offer employee purchase programs. Ask around. As you compile your list, you likely will uncover a least one discount that few employees knew existed.

Step #2: Consolidate Employee Discounts. Listing all the discounts in one place is crucial to enhancing their perceived value. You could, for example, combine the discounts in a flyer that is distributed during recruitment and orientation, and create an intranet page that lists all the discounts with links to the merchant and supplier websites.

Step #3: Promote the Employee Discounts. Employee discounts should be promoted with a marketing flair. Be creative! And remember the discount vendors can be coordinated for a greater impact. Promotional materials should be produced in a branded look and should position the discounts as coming via your company, not just from the vendors.

Step #4: Negotiate More and Better Deals. A company can leverage the buying power of its employees to add new discount partners and negotiate even better and more exclusive employee deals. If a supplier offers your company a 20% discount, ask for 25%. This can give your organization a competitive edge.

Employee discounts are a cost-effective and easy way for employee communication professionals and their employee benefits partners to get a quick win for their companies.

What employee discounts do you think employees value the most?

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