Business Basics
How to empower your employees with company cards

How to empower your employees with company cards

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When leaders take deliberate steps to show employees that they are trusted, “employees are more likely to be powerful, confident individuals.”

However, most commentary on employee empowerment focuses on the ambiguous or intangible; Leaders are told to “encourage communication” or “provide opportunities for ownership,” but are seldom given concrete advice on how to do so.

At BILL, we see a lot of people receiving their first corporate credit cards and we wondered if that kind of experience—something targeted and tangible—could affect employee morale. We decided to test our hypothesis.

Here’s what we found:

In a workplace data study, we surveyed 268 people from a dozen companies.

Our goal was to measure changes in employee sentiment after receiving a corporate credit card.

To do this, we asked employees to agree or disagree with various statements relating to their company—modeled after an annual workplace survey. We measured their sentiment before and after receiving their corporate card.

Responses were ranked from 0—strongly disagree—to 10—strongly agree. While not all categories showed significant change after receiving a corporate credit card, we did measure meaningful improvement in the following three areas:  

  1. Employee empowerment
  2. Company pride
  3. Career development

1. My company empowers its employees.

Of all the categories we measured, employees reacted the strongest to feelings of empowerment.

After receiving a corporate card, the majority of respondents agreed strongly that “My company empowers its employees.” We measured an astonishing improvement of 1.72 points (moving the average rating from a neutral 6.65 to 8.37).

2. I’m proud to work at my company.

If you want employees to be proud of where they work, a corporate credit card could help improve their team spirit.

When asked to agree or disagree with this statement—“I’m proud to work at my company”—sentiment improved by 0.58 points after receiving a company card.

3. My company looks for ways to develop my career.

Respondents were asked how strongly they agreed with this statement: “My company looks for ways to develop my career.”

Before and after receiving a corporate credit card, employees moved from 5.1 to 5.29 on average—an improvement of 0.19 points. While this may not seem like a significant jump, any HR rep can tell you that it’s incredibly difficult to move the needle in workplace culture surveys. We found it notable that something as simple as a corporate card could affect a positive increase.

Is such empowerment sustainable?

For each of these categories, our research discovered an interesting, significant bump after employees received the physical card.

While our research has not (as of yet) measured whether this increase is sustainable over time, we are looking forward to studying the more long-lasting effects of this change.

A corporate credit card is just one way to improve employee sentiment, but overall, our findings support a positive impact.

Here at BILL, we’ve seen this time and again with our customers—corporate cards have the power to change company culture.

Amber Johnson, COO of Jump Software, said the cultural impact boils down to two words: “trust and accountability.” Employees who never had the power to swipe a company card now feel a sense of accomplishment and ownership.

The results we’ve found have a simple solution: empower your employees by giving them credit cards.

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