Why Experiences

Analyzing the value of employee recognition during a pandemic [New Research]

Editor's Note: In the content below, both individual and company names have been redacted where needed to protect privacy.

Everyone who receives and redeems a Blueboard experiential reward is invited to take our Post-Experience Engagement Survey. We want to capture the sentiment of their experience while it’s fresh in their minds and they’re bursting with afterglow. 

With everything that’s happened in the last year, like the transition to a fully remote work environment and increased stress for employees, we were especially curious to analyze how Blueboard:

  • Motivates employees in their work
  • Drives a higher sense of employee appreciation
  • Encourages employees to stay in their role with the company
  • Positively impacts overall company culture

Companies are paying close attention to these four areas, especially as they work to build connections between teams that have expanded and distributed in our new working world. The good news, which we see in our survey results, is that authentic employee recognition has a powerful impact on motivation, employee appreciation, retention, and company culture. Check it out.

#Blueboarding looked different in 2020, but was still engaging

The way our reward recipients went #Blueboarding in 2020 looked different from previous years, but it was still epic. Everyone adapted: we launched new experiences, reward recipients tried new things, and companies used employee recognition in new ways. In the last year, we: 

  • Sent over 10,000 people Blueboarding in 60 countries
  • Added over 100 In-home experiences to our menus to adhere to travel restrictions, accommodate safety concerns, and keep reward recipients engaged
  • Saw 35% of our all Blueboard recipients take advantage of In-home experiences 

One of our favorite moments was when Lance C. surprised his wife on Valentine’s Day with a hand-crafted wedding ring created during private lessons with jewelry makers. They plan to pass it on to their daughter some day.

The final product!

Our clients also loved that we had diverse options to offer their employees: 

“One of my favorite examples of our winning partnership was when Blueboard made the very timely decision to expand their menu to include In-home experiences during COVID-19. We were able to continue our recognition program and strategies as people were sheltering in place.”
Carrie Theisen, former VP of Global Total Rewards and People Operations at Medidata 

The bottom line across our analysis is that, in 2020, employees viewed their Blueboard reward as a force that increased motivation, appreciation, retention, and company culture. Take a look at the full results from our Post-Experience Engagement Survey:

The question: “Am I motivated to perform at a higher level than expected of me?”

The answer: 95.46% of Blueboard recipients feel more motivated to perform

Disengaged employees can cost you up to $550 billion a year (yikes). One way HR leaders are trying to keep their workers engaged is by doubling down on employee motivation.

However, employee motivation can be tricky now that we’re no longer together in an office environment and have limited opportunities for workplace connection. That’s why companies have to make an intentional investment in tools and programs that speak directly to employee motivation in a remote world. 

How Blueboard impacts employee motivation

Almost 40% of employees would feel more motivated if they were recognized for their work. Further, when managers take the time to recognize their employees directly, engagement increases by 60%

Blueboard offers a whole suite of employee recognition products your managers can use to improve motivation and morale. Our experiential gifts for employees are also more powerful than cash, gift cards, and points because they take employees out of the day-to-day routine and build anticipation for what lies ahead, which is an incredibly powerful motivator. 

Jess, a recipient who received her Blueboard reward directly from her manager, shows just how much of an impact it can have:

Jess recounts the impact her manager's recognition had on her work.

The question: “Am I seen and valued for my contributions?” 

The answer: 96.93% of Blueboard recipients feel genuinely appreciated

Many of us were forced to adapt to a fully remote work environment this past year, which led to fewer physical connections, separation from our company’s mission, and diminished perceptions of value due to limited visibility within the organization. It’s difficult to feel seen and valued when you’re not sitting with your team, or next to your manager, every day. If you're looking for a quick way to appreciate your teams, use our free appreciation note builder!

How Blueboard impacts employee appreciation

Many are tempted to send gift cards or cash bonuses to recognize an employee’s major milestones and achievements. While the intention behind them is positive, these types of monetary incentives feel impersonal and transactional. That can have the opposite effect and demotivate your employees. 

Experiential rewards, like the ones we offer at Blueboard, can be personalized to each employee’s preferences. This form of recognition makes people feel truly appreciated because their whole self—who they are, what they like, and how they like to celebrate—is recognized. 

Another benefit of experiential gifts for employees is that they create an “afterglow effect,” which is the positive feeling that lingers with us after a truly unforgettable experience. Top performers will remember the feelings of appreciation and sense of value long after the experience is over. 

Arlyn A. knows all about that afterglow effect, after spending his Blueboard experience at Bohol Shores in the Philippines:

“This getaway was so mentally TRANSFORMATIONAL and I’m truly grateful to my company and Blueboard for making this experience possible. I can still vividly remember the feeling of warm water in the pool under the coconut tree’s shade, looking at the blue sky, while sipping a mojito. I will remember that feeling even when I’m back in my isolation pod (apartment) waiting for the world to get better.”
A photo from Arlyn's Staycation Experience.

The question: “Am I likely to stay?”

The answer: 94.82% of Blueboard recipients agree that Blueboard is a great tool for retaining top talent

When you lose an employee, it can cost 150% of their annual salary to replace them. It literally pays to invest in solutions that retain top talent, which is why retention is a key objective for 60% of employee recognition programs.

There’s a direct link between employee recognition and employee retention. And without a recognition program or strategy in place, your employees are more likely to be misaligned with organizational goals, look for a new job, and put less effort into their work. 

How Blueboard impacts employee retention

Whether you’re building a spot rewards program, expanding wellbeing incentives offerings, or celebrating major milestones, employee recognition is well worth the investment. In fact, 63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to jump ship for a new gig.

Blueboard offers a hand-curated menu of experiences that contain hundreds of options. Further, employees are given the power to choose a reward that’s personally meaningful to them right now. Whether they’re spending time with the kids on an at-home science kit or enjoying a luxurious spa day, they’ll remember where that special moment came from (hint: it’s you). 

Take it from Edward W., who had one of the most unforgettable experiences we saw all year (and maybe ever):

“Cash bonuses come and go, but these memories last a lifetime. I got engaged on my trip to the love of my life, in the most beautiful place for us, and it will forever be one of the greatest moments of our lives thanks to the Blueboard team. I am so grateful that my company has this incredible benefit and it does make a tremendous difference in how I view the company and how it shows it truly cares for its employees.”

The question: “Is this a positive, healthy place to work? Do I feel connected to our mission, values, and team?”

The answer: 95.48% of Blueboard recipients believe that Blueboard positively impacts company culture

A company’s culture lays the foundation for how it operates, the type of people it attracts, and the overall success of the business. Even though you may have invested in building an awesome in-office culture, not every aspect of it will carry over into the remote world. Connecting with coworkers or celebrating the achievements of teammates, for instance, is much tougher to do when physically apart.

How Blueboard impacts company culture

Blueboard rewards are especially impactful when it comes to strengthening company culture in a remote environment. One of our clients, The Trade Desk noticed that their employees were having a difficult time staying aligned with corporate priorities while working remotely in 2020. So they decided to anchor their spot recognition program to their company values. This provided their workforce with a sense of clarity and community, even when they weren’t physically in an office together. Check out our company values awards planning guide.

"Blueboard’s In-home experience rewards have allowed our employees to enjoy and connect over new shared experiences during a time when our options are limited. Blueboard was able to masterfully pivot their experience offerings and create opportunities for our employees to enjoy new activities with their families, develop new skills, invest in their health, and find balance during a difficult year. So many TTDers have taken advantage of the Peloton Experience for their 5th anniversary and it’s neat to visit our Peloton Slack channel and see the community that has grown because employees have been able to redeem an experience they might have otherwise not purchased themselves."

Jess Wagner, Global People and Strategy at The Trade Desk

Use Blueboard to drive employee-focused outcomes in 2021 

We love seeing that employee recognition remains an effective tool during these challenging times, and are excited to help our clients continue to recognize their employees in meaningful ways in 2021 (and beyond). If you’re looking to improve employee engagement, appreciation, retention, and company culture, Blueboard can help.

The results from our Post-Experience Engagement Survey tell us that employee recognition was a much-needed constant during a year when inconsistency reigned supreme. And that stands true for both the companies sending Blueboard experiential rewards and the employees receiving them. 

If you’re interested to learn how Blueboard can supercharge your employee recognition programs with jaw-dropping experiences, request a demo today

Join our community and receive must-have recognition tips straight to your inbox.

Share this article:

You might also like

Blueboard Logo White

As of March 12, 2024, Blueboard has ceased its operations. To everyone that supported us over the years, thank you. 🙏