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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Why It Pays to Care

Our readers out there know that we like to talk about treating your employees right. How employee engagement is crucial for business success. Sure treating people right is something most anyone should try and practice no matter what. However, is how your company treats its employees crucial to your corporate branding and overall sales

Let's take a look at some notes from a recent Brand Conference. We weren't attendees but did have some good takeaways from the event hashtag on Twitter. Of all the bits of branding knowledge shared through that stream, this one really jumped off the screen at us:

@kufarms (or more formally Keith McIlvaine) is a social media consultant out of Pennsylvania and hit a crucial point. Consumers are interested in how you as a company treat your employees. We've seen this from rapidly rising companies such as Zappos or Southwest Airlines. They've received a ton of attention from their individual company cultures. As a result of that attention, they've seen increased brand exposure, positive PR and most likely increased revenues as a direct result of how they treat their employees. 

Why are consumers so interest in company cultures? Customers see how companies treat their front-line staff as a correlation of how they will be treated as customers. If I'm considering making a purchasing decision with one company but know that they treat their employees poorly, what makes me think that I will receive any better treatment? How many companies have you heard of that have a poor employee culture but amazing customer service?

Employees have the potential to be your company's most influential brand advocates. How you treat them will influence how they verbally treat your brand.

What do you think? Does employee treatment directly reflect customer treatment?

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Could Coffee Influence Behavior?

We've posted on here about how coffee could have a positive impact on employee recognition and productivity. As it turns out, further research proves that coffee (or just caffeine in general) could help further influence employee behavior.

This article on PsyBlog discussed how caffeine makes us more suceptible to persuasive messages. It discusses a study done by the University of Queensland in Australia in which a group of individuals are attempted to be persuaded about a certain topic. Amongst that group, before the attempted persuasion, half of the participants had a caffeine pill and the others took a placebo. The results of this double-blind study? Participants "under the influence" of caffeine were more persuaded than ones who weren't.

Could these findings be applied to the workplace? Our previous post on caffeine/coffee consumption looked at providing coffee to employees as a perk or an incentive for working hard at your company. However, the benefit could prove to be mutual. The effects of caffeine consumption include increased awareness, brain arousal and a sharper attention span. According to PsyBlog, the reason most messages pass us by is because we aren't attentive enough to pay any attention to them. However, with the increased stimulation from caffeine, we are able to process those messages more thoroughly which in turn makes us increasingly likely to be influenced.

With that in mind, think about your employees. Are you trying to communicate a message with them? Attempting to influence their behavior and attitudes in one form or another? Sometimes persuasion is best served with a hot cup of joe.

What do you think?´╗┐

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What an iPhone App Can Teach Us About Wellness Incentives


For those of you who may be a little app nerdy like myself, there's yet another app on the horizon...but it's not what you think.

Wellness incentives are sometimes a touchy subject. Employee wellness is a contributing factor to productivity and engagement in an office. We've talked about wellness incentives before in this post taking a look into how Dunder Mifflin tried a wellness incentive program based on weight loss. The main problem with Dunder Mifflin's incentive was that it rewarded an overall result: weight loss. They wanted their employees to achieve healthy lifestyles in the process. However, what they didn't anticipate was the dangerous steps employees were taking just to win. The failure was a result of the company's failure to reward healthy behaviors. 

GE's new mobile app has changed the thinking in this regard. Their new wellness application - Morsel - applies this behavior modification process in a new and fun way. Everyday the company sends a little "morsel" to each user. These morsels are small little tips to lead a healthier life. They offer small challenges like "don't put any extra salt on what you eat today." GE describes their new app in this way:

“With health and wellness, a little can go a long way. With this in mind, we’ve developed Morsel, a mobile application that helps people get a little bit healthier, every day. By suggesting simple, daily tasks that anyone can do, Morsel empowers you to take control of your well-being, one step at a time. With fun, achievable goals, Morsel makes a healthier lifestyle accessible to everyone.”

Small goals over time do much in modifying behaviors to achieve specific results. Incentive programs - more specifically wellness incentive programs - will ultimately fail if they only focus on the end results. 

What do you think?

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Social Media and Employee Recognition Programs: A Perfect Match

The incentives industry is (or at least should be) very people focused. An incentives company shouldn't be solely interested in selling its product as much as it is about motivating and driving behavior. The best methods of influencing behavior are designed around what employees want. What makes them tick? What will motivate them to achieve greater results?
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