Diversify Your Incentive Plan

Any good financial advisor will tell you that diversifying your portfolio is the best way to maximize your return. The same can be said with employee incentives. Hiring managers and HR professionals need more than one way to recognize and reward employees for a job well done. In addition to base salary and insurance benefits, employees seek incentives and perks when choosing where their loyalties lie.

Jobacle.com recently published an article on their blog outlining the eight best employee incentive programs. They, like us, believe that a diversified approach is best to maintain and recruit top talent. Their list is featured below. (See article for detailed descriptions).

  1. Flexible hours and/or telecommuting
  2. Health and wellness programs
  3. Points programs
  4. Separate group and individual incentives
  5. PTO, paid holidays and relaxation
  6. Production-based bonuses
  7. Social and networking events
  8. Tuition reimbursement and learning opportunity

Employees are not all motivated by the same factors. Thus, by utilizing a diversified set of incentives, more employees are motivated. Do you agree? What would you add to this list? Would you remove any items?

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How Did This Socially Responsible Incentive Thing Start?

Continuing on with our social responsibility theme this week, we're continuing on talking about the socially responsible initiative Helping Hand Rewards. The following is originally posted here on their blog.

Who would’ve known that a dinner conversation with friends would spark a new initiative in the

incentives industry?

Back in 2003, Michael Arkes and his wife went out to dinner with friends Lauri Alpern and her husband. Lauri had just started her job co-directing a Chicago-based social enterprise The Enterprising Kitchen (TEK). Lauri explained the social purpose of TEK and how they helped homeless, at-risk or recently incarcerated women with employment by making soap products. She said they sold a lot of product but really weren’t making any money. Michael offered to help teach her how to replicate their sales success but do it in such a way to make money.

Over the next two and a half years, with Michael’s help and expertise, TEK increased how much they made by almost $500,000, which increased the number of people they were able to help from 28 to 78.

It was a great start but Arkes knew more needed to be done in regards to marketing.

“We were only selling to people that we knew, which I realized wasn’t sustainable. They needed to start marketing to potential prospects to sell more.”

However, being a small non-profit, there wasn’t any marketing spending being done for the sheer fact there wasn’t any extra money to do it. That’s where his new idea for Helping Hand Rewards came into play.

“I decided to start Helping Hand Rewards,” said Arkes. “ I could spend the money on marketing and business development. The idea was that the enterprises could pay me a commission on sales that we generated through Helping Hand Rewards.”

With that in mind, Arkes set out to find other social enterprise partners. His thought was that if he could do this for TEK, he would be able to help other enterprises as well. Also, having a wider assortment of products to offer under the HHR banner would appeal to a larger prospect base. Through hearing about social entrepreneurs in periodicals to referrals from the Social Venture Network, eight additional lines were ultimately added to the Helping Hand Rewards product mix over the last couple of years. Arkes now says the focus has shifted away from adding more groups and more onto growing sales of the enterprises Helping Hand Rewards works with.

It’s amazing how one casual dinner conversation could spawn an entrepreneurial interest that is helping better others’ lives everyday!


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Games Incentives Play

Video games aren't just for obese kids on the couch eating Cheetos all day.

There are some genius ideas behind the development of these games that have applications beyond just the games themselves. This last week we've taken a look at how these video game dynamics and reward systems could be applied to incentive programs. Not only recognition program design but even using abstract awards in lieu of more "traditional" merchandise. Here's a brief recap with links of what we discussed:

Social Gaming and Incentive Rewards: Merch Monday

Farmville seems like a silly fad right? Well it's a silly fad that has generated hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. Farmville along with other virtual ecosystems found on Facebook are keen on modifying the behavior of their users. So much so that giftcards are available for purchase in brick and mortar establishments for further success in these games. How could incentive programs use this new obsession to their advantage? Click here to learn how.

The Game Layer of Incentives (Part 1)

This is part one of a two part series investigating how video game dynamics could be applied to incentive programs. This post includes a TED Talk from Seth Priebatsch of geolocation service SCVNGR talking about four video game dynamics. We dissect two of those dynamics here.

The Game Layer of Incentives (Part 2)

This is the second half of breaking down the game dynamics presented by Priebatsch and correlating those ideas to incentive program design. We take a look at the Progressive Dynamic and Communal Discovery. Learn more about these ideals by clicking here.

That's just a brief glimpse of how social gaming could be used within future employee recognition programs. On our blog we also investigate other examples of successful award programs, how social media could be applied to recognition along with other trends and future examples of where the industry may go from here.

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Incentives Aren't an Expense, They're an Investment

Investments typically involve money spent to achieve some sort of long term result. Incentive programs should work the same way for your company. You are making an investment in your employees. Incentive programs (should) be designed to improve work performance and to achieve - dare I say exceed - company goals. Spending money on a reward program should empower your employees and make them better performers.
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Why Incentive Programs Are Essential To Branding

In many of our blog posts, we've discussed numerous times (along with other blogs outside of ours) on how employee incentive and recognition programs are vital to boost engagement and improve productivity among your workforce. We all know that good morale will boost productivity which in turn should have a positive influence on results. However, how does all this affect your corporate brand?
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