Corporate Incentive Programs for Increasing Employee Motivation

By: Allysa Wilson

Don’t wait for sales or revenues to be down before you start thinking of implementing corporate incentive programs.

Corporate incentive programs are key components of all successful businesses. That’s because corporate incentive programs help contribute to positive employee relations. Caring about employee relations and having corporate incentive programs in place are not just the right thing to do, according to Bill Callette and Richard Hadden who wrote the influential HR text “Contented Cows Give More Milk” – as cited in the paper “Motivation and Incentive Strategy: The Key to Making Your Workplace Exceptional” – it is the profitable thing to do.

Producing the Best Results
Companies that have corporate incentive programs and that generally work towards increasing employee motivation have bigger sales growths, bigger revenues and higher percentages of job growth. According to Contented Cows Give More Milk, organizations that have effective incentive programs post quadruple the sales growth of organizations that don’t have any incentive strategy in place. Those with incentive programs also have twice the revenue and a higher percentage of job growth compared to companies that have zero incentive strategy.

The study “Incentives, Motivation and Workplace Performance: Research & Best Practices” discussed the following conditions where reward programs produce the best results: if the current performance is deemed inadequate; if there is lack of motivation and this is one of the causes of inadequate performance; if the goals are quantifiable, regardless if they are performance type or level; if the targets are sufficiently challenging but, with enough effort and training, ultimately achievable; and if the goals and the behavior change that the program hopes to promote are aligned with the company’s goals and daily targets.

What are the qualities of effective corporate incentive programs?

Successful corporate incentive programs always involve the entire organization. The program should be transparent, objective and consistent and these qualities have to be communicated effectively across the entire business.

“Motivation and Incentive Strategy” also emphasized that incentive programs have to be integrated across all arms of the organization, preferably with an online platform that gives access to rewards, incentives, training and feedback.

“Incentives, Motivation and Workplace Performance” pointed out that effective corporate incentive programs are typically long term programs. The research showed that incentive programs that are created to cover at least a year yielded 44 percent more in terms of performance. On the other hand, short term programs or programs that run for six months or even less yielded only an increase of 30 percent.

The rewards of effective incentive programs, according to the paper “The Benefits of Tangible Non-Monetary Incentives,” by Scott Jeffrey and published by the SITE Foundation, are typically perceived as special. And they don’t have to be monetary rewards. What do they have to be are things or items that the participants of the incentive program are less likely to purchase. If the award is perceived as special or meaningful, it has more value and is more likely to engage the employee and motivate him or her to earn it.

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Allysa Wilson is a HR specialist that manages emloyee motivation programs, employee rewards and benefits.

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