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Implementing an employee discount scheme: A step-by-step guide

Implementing an employee discount scheme: A step-by-step guide

Employee discount schemes are one of those perks that can make a decent job good, and a good job amazing.

Google has free gourmet meals. Airbnb has travel credit. Tesla has company car programs.

A little incentive goes a long way towards making an employee feel valued, respected, and appreciated. They make them feel like a part of your team rather than a cog in a machine. Those abstract feelings yield real, tangible benefits like increased employee loyalty, higher job satisfaction and lower employee turnover rates.

You may not be able to dish out all the posh perks that big tech companies can, but even as a small business, you can give your team sweet awards that will have them thankful they’re a part of your team.

I manage the employee perks and benefits for our team at CharlieHR, and part of my responsibilities include making sure our team get the best employee benefits. I’d like to offer some insights I’ve learned about how to make the most out of employee discount schemes, and how to implement them for your small business.

Understanding employee discount schemes

Employee discount schemes are reward programs companies offer to their employees. They are a very common type of employee benefits for small businesses.

Companies strike deals with retailers or different service providers to secure exclusive discounts or rewards specifically for their team members - as an employee incentive to attract talent and get them to stay.

Offering employee discounts is about more than just offering the occasional luxury item or a fancy retreat. Offering these kinds of benefits makes the day-to-day life of your employees easier, better and more affordable.

Types of employee discount programs

What you offer in your employee discount programs and what they look like can vary greatly. Some common employee discounts include gym memberships, travel discounts, and retail discounts for popular brands. You can even offer grocery discounts and take a chunk off of your employee’s food bill!

Different types of employee discounts include:

1. Vouchers: Exclusive coupons for specific items or experiences. That can mean meals at a trendy restaurant, or a day of pampering and self-care at a nail salon.

2. Discount codes: These are special codes for online shopping you can punch in during checkout, shaving a few pounds off your total bill.

3. Cashback: Your team member gets a small percentage amount of their money back and it makes its way back into their bankbook.

Types of employee discount schemes

Employee discount rewards programs such as these are more than just superficial perks. They’re your way of showing your employees how much you value the hard work they do for you. They demonstrate that you’re willing to go the extra mile for their happiness and well-being.

The benefits of employee discount schemes

Successful discount schemes you set up for your employees can elevate a job that’s merely a paycheck to a job that feels fulfilling - one that feels good to clock into.

Offering your employees the chance to save on their favourite brands, experiences and essentials is the hallmark of an employer that cares about their people, but they also offer a range of perks and benefits for you:

Attracting and retaining the best talent

In a competitive job market such as ours, a decent salary package is now considered the expectation rather than the exception. Prospective employees now expect perks that cater to their lifestyle, and that improve their well-being, their passions and their hobbies.

Employee discount schemes such as these give your employees a reason to stick around, and not jump ship for the competition the moment things get hard.

Higher employee satisfaction and engagement

A happy employee is an employee who sticks around. Giving them discounts and rewards that give them more of the things they love makes them happy.

Little gestures like discounted gym memberships and savings on their favourite brands go a long way. This creates a workforce that is engaged, motivated and loyal. It's also a great way to make sure you add on to benefits such as a small business pension scheme.

Implementing an employee discount scheme: A step-by-step guide

Let’s say you’re set on putting an employee discount scheme program in place, but where do you start? How do you structure and organise your schemes in a way that yields tangible results in your team’s productivity and retention, and so that they aren’t just ticking off an HR box?

I’ve outlined a few steps you can take below:

Step 1: Identify needs

Take the time to identify the needs and preferences of your fellow team members. You can do this with employee satisfaction surveys, or having casual one-on-one chats at tea time with your team members to get their feelings and insights.

Step 2: Search for potential vendors

When you have a clear understanding of your team’s preferences, scout for vendors and service providers that align with them. Look out for those that match your employees' interests. Keep in mind that the best partnerships are those where both parties - your team and the vendor - find mutual value.

Step 3: Negotiate the scheme

The next step is to negotiate the terms of the employee discount scheme in a way that’s favourable to both you and the vendor. It’s not just about the package itself, it’s about finding a balance between flexibility, ease of use, and offering a range of choices.

Step 4: Communicate the employee discount scheme

Now that you have the pieces lined up, it’s time to let your team members know that the employee discounts are in place and on offer to them.

Consider hosting a launch party or a workshop to answer and field any questions you get from your team members who want to make the most out of the corporate discounts.

Step 5: Review and update the scheme

Keep the momentum going after the launch. Implementing an employee discount scheme isn’t a “set it and forget it” situation.

Touch base and communicate with your team to see if they’re happy with the employee discount scheme. Are they enjoying the discounts? Are they making the most of them? Is there something missing they wish you would include?

Use the feedback and insights you get to refine the scheme over time.

If this seems overwhelming, consider investing in an HR software solution to manage your employee discount scheme. CharlieHR’s perks for work platform lets your team pick and choose from 30,000 deals and discounts. Not only does it make the implementation process simple and streamlined, but it makes managing the scheme a breeze.

Give your employees access to exclusive discounts with CharlieHR's Perks

Comparing different employee discount schemes

There is no one-size-fits-all employee discount program that works for every company. Different platforms cater to businesses of different needs, sizes, and preferences.

CharlieHR is specifically designed with small businesses in mind, and the perks feature is made to be flexible and easy to implement. I made a few comparisons between CharlieHR and other popular HR platforms below:

CharlieHR’s Perks feature

The CharlieHR employee benefits platform gives your employees access to a huge number of offers and discounts as part of the overall HR software.

The setup is quick and simple. With it, team members can choose from perks and employee rewards examples that best suit their needs and lifestyle. The platform is designed to be affordable for small businesses and is priced accordingly (from £5 per month for unlimited access to HR software and perks platform) .

The Perks feature comes bundled in with CharlieHR’s main software at no extra charge, which makes it a cost-effective solution for small businesses.

Caboodle Salary Extras

The Caboodle Salary Extras platform by The Access group also offers employee discounts, but tailored at bigger companies. The employee discounts platform is not included in the HR tool, so small companies have to pay an extra to access its offerings.


Another popular discounts platform in the UK is Perkbox. The Perkbox platform lets you choose from a range of perks, discounts and features. Perkbox does offer customisability of employee rewards selection and ease of setup, but it can easily price-out smaller companies and startups.

Which platform is right for you?

Choosing the right employee discount platform is a decision that can have big implications for you in small ways. It’s not just about the perks themselves, but how the platform aligns with the future of your business.

Try CharlieHR for free today, and give your employees the sweet perks and rewards that will have them on your side for the long haul.

Check out our blog for more wellbeing at work ideas.

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