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How to Design Attractive Incentive Programs for Employees

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Employers and HR teams play a significant role in sustaining employee motivation, which in turn impacts retention. Employees want to be recognized for their contributions, yet it’s not always apparent to organizations how. Creating and implementing attractive incentive programs for employees is an essential step in boosting employee engagement and morale, even during rough patches.

In an annual employee appreciation study, 88% of the respondents agreed on the need to reward hard-working employees. However, less than 45% of the participants believed that their employers incentivized them enough for the extra work they put in for their company.

Such disconnect in employee satisfaction will damage employee morale, productivity and retention. Business success depends on employees, and incentives give your team something to work towards while offering tangible acknowledgement of their efforts.

Do you want to attract top talent and get the best out of your existing employees? Creating employee incentive programs could be the first step in the right direction. In fact, 80% of organizations report they have some type of incentive program.

Related: Personalize Rewards to Strengthen Manager-Employee Relationships

As an employer, the chances are that you offer your employees a competitive compensation package with solid benefits. However, most employees tend to get used to receiving their regular pay and crave something extra. Other employees don’t connect their income with their work. Such common scenarios bring up the need for attractive incentive programs for your employees.

So, what is an employee incentive program, and why should you consider such programs?

What Are Incentive Programs for Employees?

Employee incentive programs are systems that employers can use to inspire their teams to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Often, companies employ recognition tactics, offering rewards and perks as part of these programs. They do all these with a desire to create a positive workplace culture as they promote company values and goals.

How you decide to incentivize your employees is highly subjective, but some programs are more effective than others. For instance, giving trophies and plaques may not go over as well as a catalog of awards from which they can choose. 

The Value of Employee Incentive Programs

Well-designed employee incentive programs offer various financial and cultural benefits for companies:

·   Reduction in Turnover

Rewarding your employees when they perform their duties in an exemplary manner will show them they are valued. Consequently, you lower your risk for attrition. Turnover has significant costs, but you can avoid this simply by providing the right level of recognition.

·   Boosted Productivity

Higher employee morale will increase their efficiency and boost your company’s productivity. According to Organizational Psychology Degrees, “Boosting employee morale increases productivity because people who feel appreciated and fulfilled at work develop the ownership spirit and remain committed to their job.”

·   Fosters Teamwork

Numerous incentives encourage collaboration and cooperation among your employees. Some incentives programs recognize employees who work in teams to achieve specific goals. They can also be designed to allow peers to nominate coworkers for certain contributions.

·   Enhanced Reputation

Employees are more likely to talk positively about your company if you create a positive work environment. Harvard Business Review reported that 48% of new hires are found through employee referrals.

·   Higher Business Goals Achievement

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

Employee recognition helps employees meet business objectives given the personal ROI they are bound to receive.

Creating a Customized Incentive Program

Before you set up an incentive program, you may want to understand the different available options. For one, it is essential to keep in mind that there’s more to incentivizing employees than meets the eye.

Without proper planning, your financial incentives can hit a snag and lose steam. Therefore, you must create a program that goes beyond simply dishing out gift cards and hefty bonuses.

As you think about personalized incentive programs for employees, work out a plan that equally rewards your employees regardless of their location or culture and accounts for their position. For instance, you may want a customized President’s Club Award program for top-achieving sales leaders and a recognition program for non-sales employees, each calibrated to what those recipients value. 

An employee in India may not appreciate what someone in the US views as valuable, and their salaries may not offer the same purchasing power. You would want to ensure the program is apples-to-apples and everyone is awarded a similarly-priced catalog of options to be aligned with their cost of living. 

Top-shelf branded items, exotic travel experiences and must-attend-event tickets can all make a difference in your motivation program but have to be customized.

Some options to consider include:

Personalized Travel

Employees often desire to travel to exotic destinations with their loved ones. Offering travel rewards will prove can boost your team’s engagement and get them excited to work towards such a lofty (but achievable) goal. 

You could also consider including pre- and post-trip luxury gifts to take the fun a notch higher. 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 your employees. When travelers return to duty energized, the rest of the group becomes motivated to work towards similar rewards.

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

Exclusive and branded gift cards will appeal to different age groups. You can choose to create a branded gift card that features your company’s values. Alternatively, you could offer your employees gift cards to purchase electronics, clothing, home goods, or sporting goods.

Your gift cards could also feature popular brands that are appealing to your best performers. Using desirable brands as an incentive will excite your employees and make a difference in the overall motivation within your team.

Thrilling Experiences

It is not always possible to contain or package all your rewards. Some of your employees prefer doing things rather than getting tangible rewards. From huge events to top-notch concerts, big games, and theme parks, you can find multiple options that will excite your employees. You can create experiences that cater to families, young thrill-seekers, and couples.

Outsourcing your Incentive Programs

While you can create your own incentive program for employees, you can opt to work with trusted partners to create the perfect incentive program for your clients. Working with a partner will give you access to world-class solutions that enable you to make a difference in your industry.

Outsourcing these programs ensures that you design and implement a program that addresses your unique needs. You’ll have an easier time onboarding and running your incentive initiatives. An experienced partner understands that today’s multigenerational/multicultural work environment is fast changing.

They will work with your in-house management team to keep all team members motivated regardless of the prevailing challenges. The overall idea is always to implement customized features and promotions that will actively engage your team and keep everyone focused on company goals.

Alternatively, you may find help in creating a comprehensive custom reward catalog based on your company’s values, budget and goals. Ideal catalogs will also factor in your employees’ demographics to reward everyone similarly. Ultimately, they’ll receive items that make them feel appreciated.

Ensure that you work on developing your incentive program continuously to get the best results. This approach will ensure you stay on top of the incentives that will currently boost employee engagement. For example, having a virtual reality gaming system in your catalog will likely be more appealing today than a gaming system that was popular five years ago.

Depending on your partner, you can also create an incentive program that adapts to your evolving business needs. This option will need you to use flexible technology and tools that will meet your requirements. Besides, you can go for tools and features that will appeal to your teams the most. Think about communications portals, leaderboards, personal-best challenges, and contests while working with your provider.

Mobile responsive platforms

You want to create an incentive program for employees that will keep both your field and office teams motivated and engaged. An efficient service provider should provide a mobile-responsive platform that gives your employees access to all of the possible rewards and lets them track their progress. A flexible incentive program should also enable employees to accumulate and redeem points online. 

Global Capabilities

Running a global company means that you may have your workforce in different cities around the world. Do you have the capacity to keep all of them motivated? Do your top performers feel appreciated and motivated regardless of their current location? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you might need to consider your global approach to incentivizing your employees.

For one, you can consider partnering with a service provider with experience working with global companies. A provider who’s engaged organizations for a while understands industry challenges and will help you find solutions when issues arise.

Opt for a provider that can help you achieve international reward equality and fulfillment with ease. While at it, you might also want to think about different tax requirements and multiple currencies. Ticking such items from your provider’s list ensures that you get the best deal for an incentivizing partner.

Analytics Capability

Once you set your incentive program rolling, you’ll want to monitor its progress to identify areas that need tweaking regularly. With a robust analytics program, you’ll have an easier time assessing and enhancing your incentive programs.

Find a provider who can regularly deliver standard and custom reports to inform your decision-making processes. An ideal provider should provide such reports upon requests. They should also help you monitor KPIs and send you periodic email reports about your program.

Tracking individual goals and contest successes will reveal areas that are working well. Besides, you’ll also find the areas that need improvement to optimize your rewards programs. You could also tailor the reports to reveal specific areas that align with your definition of success.

Robust analytics also ensures that you monitor various departments and regions while identifying improvement opportunities. Accurate reports will help you know where you need to concentrate your efforts. You’ll quickly identify teams and groups that require encouragement while rewarding the highly engaged demographics.

Data Security

While digital solutions offer lots of promise, they also come with multiple risks. Rogue cybercriminals can capitalize on your online data and use it against you or your employees. Therefore, data security is always a priority when thinking about an incentivizing service provider.

Ask potential providers about the extra steps they take to ensure that your business and employee data remains secure. Request for their Safe Harbor and SOC 2 compliance certificates which will indicate that they undergo regular audits. Such audits ensure that your provider keeps tabs on the constantly changing security measures.

Constant Education

Beyond the incentive program, you may want to find different ways of keeping your staff motivated. Your incentive provider can help you create engaging content that can help maintain the focus on company initiatives. You can go on to offer rewards for employees who complete the training within specific time frames. Over time, you’ll notice a positive change in your employee engagements.

Make a Difference with Customized Incentive Programs

As a manager, do you spend more of your time reprimanding employees for poor performance, or do you emphasize rewarding those with quality work?

Without a doubt, rewarding your employees will spur your team to work harder and boost their productivity. Understanding the correlation between workplace satisfaction and business productivity should also influence your decision to create robust incentive programs.

Do you need help creating customized incentive programs for your employees? Boost your competitive edge with our effective incentive programs. Contact our expert team at Xceleration today, and we’ll help you revamp your incentives.

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