The following is a guest post from Joann Nelson. Joann is the Work-Life Coordinator and Compensation Specialist for the State of Colorado and has nine years of experience in Human Resources with a primary emphasis in compensation, work-life, employee relations, and recruitment.
When you decide to manage an employee discount program in-house, there are some challenges you will face, the biggest of which is the time it will take to create and administer the program. You’ll want to think about the following as you consider the “do it yourself” route.
First, you’ll need to determine how to design your employee discount program. This will be based upon the goal and purpose of the program within your organization. It’s a good idea to create a policy that will establish the basic ground rules for the program. Consider the following questions to define the scope of your program: What types of discounts will be included? What products or services will be restricted or prohibited? How will discount offers be obtained? Will you solicit businesses directly for discounts or obtain them through employee referrals or business interest? How will discounts be evaluated for inclusion in the program?
A business application and review process is necessary to ensure that your employee discount program includes discounts that are appropriate in nature and provide value for your employees. You will need a way to obtain pertinent information on discount offers, including contact information for the business, the discount being offered, ordering/purchasing instructions, any limits or exclusions, expiration dates, proof of employment requirements, etc. If you plan to offer a large number of discounts, you may want to implement an online application form to assist with collecting this information.
Once the discount information is obtained, it will need to be reviewed for approval or disapproval into your program. This may include confirming that the discount complies with your policy and that the nature of the business, products, and services are appropriate. It may also include conducting an initial screening of the business, such as a Better Business Bureau search, regarding the reliability/reputation of the organization. In addition, you may need to follow up with the business if there is missing or incomplete information. After the discount has been reviewed, the business will need to be notified of approval or disapproval into your program.
Once discounts are approved, they need to be made available to your employees. One way to do this is to create a website where all discount offers will be posted. You will need to decide what information to post and in what format (e.g., discount flyer, website link, short description). You may require the business providing the discount to submit information in your required format.
Regardless of what method is chosen, all information posted will need to be checked for accuracy. A point person will need to be assigned to maintain the website and ensure that all discount links are working and are up-to-date. New discounts will need to be added, expired discounts will need to be removed, and existing discounts will need to be updated as offers change.
Bottom line – all of these things take time. To some extent, you can control how much time it will take to manage your program by limiting the design and administration of your discount program. Keep the things above in mind as you decide how to best implement an employee discount program in your organization.