In a reward program, don’t forget about the rewards

rewards programAccumulate’s Group Buying Manager Asaf Harel looks at the impact of choosing a reward offering that caters for individuality and various levels of effort.

Reward and incentive programs are an integral part of many businesses these days. If appropriately managed and supported, they can be the perfect vehicle to creating change within an organisation.

But one of the most important factors for participation and success, and often the most neglected, are the rewards themselves.

It is simply human nature that our behaviours are often underpinned by a ‘what’s in it for me?’ attitude. So for a reward and incentive program to fulfil a goal to change behaviour, meet sales growth or achieve company targets, a sufficient ‘trade off value’ is required in order to encourage the actions that result in being rewarded.

But when you have to appeal to multiple personalities, interests, ages and priorities, it’s no easy feat, and why many organisations revert to thinking cash is the ‘golden ticket’. Not surprisingly, cash is perceived amongst us as holding the greatest value, and with the added bonus of appealing to the masses it’s a win, win, right?

While it is certainly important in the equation, research shows a prevalence of cash being considered as an ‘invisible reward’ with a defined worth, particularly when it is paid in conjunction with wages and without any physical acknowledgement to support it.

As opposed to money; when people earn points with which they can redeem for a tangible item, the value is seemingly higher because the exact cost is undisclosed.

The ideal reward offering recognises the value of providing a broad and varied product range across numerous categories, in order to cover the breadth of different motivators that different items hold amongst employees.

Therefore, an effective reward choice should be attractive enough that it allows each member to gratify their own preferences. It has to account for what could be the ultimate trophy for a person in the hope that they strive to achieve it.

But it’s important not to fall into the trap of thinking bigger is better. Number of rewards shouldn’t drive the end goal, whether you have a range of 1,000, 10,000 or 50,000 is irrelevant. For employees to realise the benefits, and for the company to see the impact of its investment in a reward program; an aspirational range that caters for individuality and various levels of effort is the answer.

The ‘best’ rewards are those that stimulate the greatest motivation in the mindset of your employees.



Sources: Cash vs. Non-Cash Incentives, LoyaltyWorks® Online, 2012, Incentive Summit “From Art to Science: Why Tangible Non-Cash Rewards Are More Rewarding for You and Your Participants” The Psychology of Incentives and Motivation, LoyaltyWorks® Online, 2012, Saying ‘thank you’ survey, 2013 

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