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Designing Customized Employee Incentive Programs

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Employers play a significant role in sustaining employee motivation but aren’t always sure how to accomplish their duty in that regard. 

Glassdoor found that over 80% of employees are motivated to work harder when their manager shows appreciation for their work, compared to less than 40% who work harder in response to a demanding boss or fear of losing their jobs.

Do you want to attract top talent and get the best out of your existing employees? Creating attractive employee incentive programs is the first step. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 80% of organizations have an employee incentive program of some type.

Employee Incentive Programs: What They Are

Employers use incentive programs to inspire teams and individuals to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. They seek to create a positive workplace culture and promote company values and goals.

How a company chooses to incentivize its employees is highly subjective. Some programs are more effective than others. 

Trophies and plaques are nice, but today’s workers are geared more toward rewards that suit their interests. These include tangible rewards (products and services) and experiential incentives (event tickets, travel, etc.), especially those they are allowed to choose from among several options.

Employee Incentive Programs: Their Value

Well-designed employee incentive programs offer various financial and cultural benefits for companies. Here are some of the most prominent.

Reduction in Turnover

Rewarding your employees for performing “above and beyond” will show them they are valued. Consequently, you lower your risk for attrition. Turnover is expensive. Companies with structured recognition programs experience nearly a third less turnover than companies that don’t. 

Boosted Productivity

High employee morale boosts company productivity. Gallup survey data reflects that companies with high employee morale and engagement are 21% more profitable and 22% more productive than their peers.

Fosters Teamwork

Incentives can be structured to encourage collaboration among employees and allow workers to nominate peers for particular contributions. Some programs recognize employees who work in teams to achieve specific goals.

Enhanced Reputation

Employees are more likely to talk positively about their employer if they have a positive work environment. Harvard Business Review points out that 48% of new hires come through employee referrals.

Higher Business Goals Achievement

Companies often use the catchphrase “our success is your success” to spur employees to focused action. Following up with real incentives can uplift your employees and help them focus on meeting your objectives.

Customized Employee Incentive Programs

Before setting up an incentive program or updating an existing one, you will want to understand the different available options. 

For ultimate effectiveness, develop a plan that rewards employees equally and individually, regardless of their location or culture, and accounts for their position. For instance, you may want a customized President’s Club program for top-achieving sales leaders and a separate recognition program for non-sales employees, each calibrated to what those recipients value. 

Global companies must remember that employees in India and the U.S. may have different tastes and their salaries may not offer the same purchasing power. You want to ensure the program is apples-to-apples and everyone is awarded similarly-priced options aligned with their cost of living. 

Top-shelf products, exotic travel, and must-attend events can make a difference in your motivation program but must be customized. Some options to consider include:

Personalized Travel

Employees enjoy traveling to exotic destinations with their loved ones. Accordingly, offering individual travel incentives can boost employee engagement and get them excited to work towards a lofty (but achievable) goal. 

Work with a company that specializes in developing customized incentives and rewards programs. They may offer a concierge service that can provide personalized itineraries for employees. 

In other instances, you can opt to build your travel experiences around your whole team. You could also use these trips as team-building and strategy sessions.

Gift Cards

Branded gift cards appeal to different age groups. You can choose to create a branded gift card that focuses on your company’s values or features popular brands that appeal to your best-performing employees.

Thrilling Experiences

Many employees prefer doing things (experiential rewards) rather than getting things. Companies can offer multiple events, such as concerts, professional sports, theme parks, and exotic vacations. 

Outsourcing Your Incentive Programs

Companies can create employee recognition programs in-house, but many of the most successful have chosen to work with a trusted partner to create the perfect incentive program. Outsourcing incentive programs help companies implement programs that address the unique needs of today’s multigenerational/multicultural workforce.

The recognition partner may recommend you create a custom reward catalog based on company values, budget, and goals. The most effective catalogs also factor in employee demographics to ensure each can feel appreciated.

The company’s recognition partner should help you create an incentive program that adapts to evolving business needs and newly available tools. Think about communications portals, leaderboards, personal-best challenges, and contests while working with your provider.

Mobile-Responsive Platforms

An efficient recognition partner should provide a mobile-responsive platform that gives employees access to all possible rewards and lets them track their progress. A flexible incentive program should also enable employees to accumulate and redeem points online. 

Global Capabilities

Global companies usually have workers in different countries. They need to consider a global approach to incentivizing employees in these cases and work with a recognition partner that has experience working with multinational companies

Analytics Capability

The company’s recognition partner should have a robust analytics program and be able to deliver standard and custom reports to inform your decision-making regularly. They should also help you monitor key performance indicators (KPIs).

Robust analytics ensures that departments and regions are monitored while identifying improvement opportunities. Companies will quickly be able to identify teams and groups that require encouragement while rewarding the highly engaged demographics.

Data Security

Data security may always be prioritized when considering an incentivizing partner. Ask potential partners about the steps they take to ensure that company and employee data remain secure. Request their Safe Harbor and SOC 2 compliance certificates that prove they undergo regular audits. 

Constant Education

Beyond a formal recognition program, companies may want to find additional ways to motivate their staff. Their recognition partner can help create engaging content to maintain the focus on company initiatives. 

Make a Difference with Customized Incentive Programs

Does your company spend more time reprimanding employees for poor performance or rewarding those who perform quality work? Remember the Glassdoor findings, with 4 in 5 employees motivated by manager appreciation and only 2 in 5 by manager demands or fear of job loss. Turn to a partner trusted by local, regional, and global companies of all sizes: Xceleration. Contact our expert team today.

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