By Steve Mallaby, Chief Executive, adumo Payouts


Faced with a challenging local and global economy and a pervasive scarce skills challenge, companies are seeking new measures and tools to help them recruit, motivate and engage their employees. Employee incentive and rewards programmes can play a leading role in rewarding top performers, driving positive workplace behaviour, and cultivating an attractive employer brand that can help attract a steady stream of talented candidates. 

Employee incentive and rewards programmes provide companies with a powerful tool to recognise employees, reward outstanding performance, encourage compliance with workplace regulations –  such as health and safety measures – and augment salaries and bonuses.

Bespoke programmes

Companies that want to attract scarce talent or retain top performers should utilise incentives and rewards to drive higher levels of employee engagement. The Gallup ‘State of the Global Workplace: 2023’ report reveals that a significant 85% of global employees lack engagement in their work. Engaged employees are more productive and customer-focused when they feel appreciated.

Driving higher levels of productivity is not the only workplace issue facing South African companies. In industries with high standards for workplace safety, such as mining and manufacturing, employee engagement can be critical to ensuring compliance with safety regulations and maintaining generally high levels of workplace safety. 

Gallup’s research indicates an 81% decrease in employee absenteeism and a 58% reduction in employee safety incidents among highly engaged workforces. For companies that have to meet high levels of workplace safety, a strategic incentives and reward programme can transform their occupational health and safety capabilities. By building a reputation as an employer that offers a safe workplace environment, companies in the mining and manufacturing sectors can more readily lure workers into their fold.

Rewards can drive productivity

However, effective rewards go beyond just recognition: they foster motivation, build loyalty, drive productivity, boost retention, and help strengthen relationships between companies and the people that drive their success. In fact, studies have shown that more than two-thirds of employees would work harder if they were recognised for their efforts. 

Companies seeking to recognise their partners and suppliers for their contribution during the year also benefit from healthier relationships, improved collaboration, and stronger partnerships. And rewarding customers that have stuck with the company through tough times can build greater affinity for the company and ensure the customer is retained.

Successful black businesswoman working on a computer and celebrating in the office. There are people in the background.

Personalised customer experience

Preloaded incentive payment cards have emerged as valuable tools for companies seeking a rewards mechanism that can meet the demands for personalisation and customer experience. A preloaded incentive payment card such as adumo Payouts’ Premium Imali card, backed by Mastercard, allows recipients to spend their rewards at any place that accepts card payments, providing the ultimate in choice and convenience.

In some cases, traditional salary bonuses may be subject to garnishee orders, meaning the employee will not receive the full value of the reward. By providing a preloaded and reloadable incentive card, companies can ensure their rewards programme delivers the optimal experience. When employees (and partners and customers) receive rewards that are tailored to their needs and align with their interests, it demonstrates a genuine understanding and appreciation of their contribution to the company and their role in its success. 

The freedom to choose your reward

Giving recipients the freedom to choose the reward they want and to spend it in the way that brings the greatest value to their lives significantly enhances the impact of the rewards programme. Companies may conduct employee surveys to better understand whether a cash reward, a travel voucher, wellness package or gift card to their favourite store would resonate best with individual employees.

However, this can be challenging in larger companies with dispersed workforces. Using a prepaid reloadable incentive card circumvents these challenges, giving employees the freedom to choose how and where they spend their reward.

Boost the impact of your rewards programme

Combining personalisation and flexibility can boost the impact of rewards programmes and ensure they deliver on the employee satisfaction, retention, and brand-building benefits. Effective rewards are essential drivers to attract, retain, and motivate employees while building loyalty with customers and partners.

adumo Payouts provides physical and digital prepaid, secure payout solutions for South African businesses. Trusted by over 500 corporates and backed by Mastercard, our transactional card products empower you to recognise and reward positive workplace behaviours. Over the past 20 years, Stephen has established a solid track record in fulfilling executive leadership roles and driving growth at various technology companies. He has extensive experience at strategic and operational levels, with emphasis on business development and marketing of business applications and enterprise technology solutions, across multiple business sectors.