An Incentive to Re-Vamp Your Incentive Program

How well is your incentive program working? Is it working? How can you tell? These are questions that are addressed in Rick Dandes’ article “Problem-Solving: What to Do When Your Incentive Program Isn’t Working” in the January/February issue of Premium Incentive Products. In the article, Dandes talks to Hinda relationship manager Kate Henehan about what to do when your incentive program doesn’t work and the importance of keeping track of your program to make sure it’s on target and doing what it’s supposed to, essentially.

When talking about problems within a given program, Henehan says, “One of the most important [things] is lack of management support. Executives need to be promoting and reminding their participant base about the importance of the program, how it aligns to the company goals and, ultimately, to individual rewards and recognition.” She adds that these programs lend themselves to excitement and promotion at the outset, and then gradually start to lose steam. If the program is truly aligned with company goals, it’s up to management to keep employees engaged and reminded of the importance of these programs.

The article points to a few warning signs to look for within a program that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. First, if few people participate, that’s an indication that the program isn’t working. Also, if the awards being offered don’t motivate people, there’s another clue that something is amiss. Third, if you’re having trouble discerning whether or not your program is even successful, you’ve got your answer right there: it’s not. Luckily, the article outlines several strategies for designing effective incentive programs and for winning back the employees whose engagement might have gotten lost along the way.

“Programs can fail for a lot of reasons, but a well-designed program tied to a company’s goals and objectives, with ways to measure results, can deliver excellent results and ROI,” Henehan says. “Ongoing measurement, modifying the program to meet changing corporate goals and strategies, tracking performance, measuring results and keeping all channels of communication open are key. It’s important to stay fluid today – things change much more rapidly than in the past, and you have to be able to change with them.”

Get the whole scoop here.

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Why Millennials & Baby Boomers Differ in Recognition & Rewards

We've discussed how Millennials will change the recognition scene, now let's take a look at why.

According to research from Inspiring Talent, a global survey of employee attitudes based on responses from more than 4,000 employees in 14 countries, Millennial workers are much less likely than Baby Boomers to believe that working harder and taking more responsibility will get them recognized and rewarded by an organization. Human Resource Executive Online recently posted an article online that nicely highlighted the findings of this research.

The research found that 38% of older workers (ages 56 to 60) believe they will be recognized and rewarded if they work harder or take extra responsibility. Only 19% of Millennial workers (ages 18 to 25) feel the same way.

This statisitic alone shows us there is a huge generational gap in the mindset of today's workforce when it comes to recognition and rewards. Realizing this is the first step toward effective incentive programs in the workforce. The research shows that Millenials believe they will be rewarded for results, not for how much time they spent on a task or what they did to produce those results.

Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and director of professional oppotunities at DePauw University states that Millennials are motivated by the process of work, more than just completing the assignment.

Baby Boomers tend to have loyalty to a particular company or organization and feel as though their employers should reciprocate their loyalty by rewarding their achievements and providing job stability. Millennials expect more immediate rewards and are more inclined to move when they don't get what they want.

To accomodate the generation gap, employers should be flexible when creating their recognition programs and realize that one-size-fits-all will not be as effective as a tailored approach.

What do you think? Can you spot the differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers in your workplace? Do you agree with these findings?

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When to Recognize

While browsing through World at Work's most recent Trends in Employee Recognition report, I was intrigued by one particular statistic. Of companies with recognition programs, 90% offer some sort of Years of Service recognition, making it the most common program.

Years of Service programs can be controversial in nature. While employees should be rewarded for reaching milestone anniversaries within an organization, managers must be careful that these don't become their default recognition program. These programs reward presence and not behaviors, actions and achievements. In order to motivate employees, it's best to reward success and results.

The good news is that other types of recognition programs are on the rise. In the table below, you can see which programs are the most popular. It's clear to see that organizations are continuing to leverage newer programs that can have a more direct impact on business results such as above-and-beyond performance, peer-to-peer and suggestion/idea programs, as well as programs to motivate specific behaviors. In particular, programs designed to motivate specific behaviors were implemented by 25% of organizations with incentive programs in 2008. Now, 34% of organizations are implementing these programs. That's a 9% increase in three years.

Do you think programs designed to directly impact business will continue to rise? Will employers ever get rid of Years of Service recognition? Personally, I think it's best to have several different recognition programs in place. Do you agree?

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The Many Benefits of Employee Incentives

Yes, there are several benefits to an employee incentive program. Incentives are in place to reward, recognize and motivate employees. And, they do a good job at all three.

It's been a tough couple of years and it's no secret that several employees are feeling burnt out, stressed, under appreciated and strapped for cash. There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel and the economy is slowly coming back to life. But, what happens when we've fully recovered from the events of the past few years?

With high competition for skilled and talented employees, rewarding your employees is essential and makes business sense. Employee incentive programs are crucial to a business’ success and they enable better relationships between employees and managers.

Don’t lose your employees to competitors. Invest in them today through incentive programs and reap the benefits of those investments for years to come. What benefits, you ask? Here are a few.

  • Motivated employees
  • Happy employees
  • Stronger relationships between employees and managers
  • Employee recognition
  • Employee loyalty
  • Valued employees
  • Positive employee attitudes and behaviors
  • Employee retention
  • Improved communication

Can you think of any others? Leave a comment and let us know.

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