What Makes an Effective Employee Discount Program?

Employee discount programs are effective when they provide discounts on a wide range of products and services, include consistent, positive communication with employees about the program and how to use it, and are cost-effective for the employer. Effective programs ensure employee confidentiality and offer choices that target their needs and interests. They provide the employer with data regarding the number of registered employees, preferred categories, and other information to tailor the program and communicate its value to employees.

Successful discount programs consider the demographics of the employee group. Even before a discount program is established, surveying employees about the option or options they prefer provides an opportunity for engaging employees and making decisions that address their needs. Sales clerks may prefer a higher employee discount on merchandise rather than sales-based bonuses. Discount programs that include toy stores, the zoo, the children's museum and day care providers most likely appeal to parents of young children. Many employees appreciate discounts on cruises, movie and concert tickets, restaurants, and electronics.

Discount programs that include few vendors, include vendors that are unlikely to appeal to employees or that are difficult to use or are unreliable can actually have a detrimental effect. There are several employee discount programs, representing local and national vendors, available to employers. Many, after the initial contracting process, require little or no employer involvement and are offered at no risk and no cost to the employer, with costs of program management shared by the vendors.