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How To Plan Successful Company Incentive Programs
What’s the main difference between mediocre company incentive programs and truly successful ones? Planning.
Successful company incentive programs will accomplish exactly what you want them to do if you plan them properly. There are, of course, various schools of thought about what constitutes proper
planning. In general, there are some basic steps you can follow that will allow you to execute your company incentive programs smoothly and successfully from start to finish.
Define Your Goals
What are you hoping to achieve? Generate sales, boost morale, improve customer service, or hit a given revenue mark? It is important to decide what you want to accomplish as well as have a good
understanding of your business and its inherent corporate culture.
Here are some simple questions to ask when defining your goals:
- Is this a specific one-time goal or an on-going goal that can have varying incentives attached to it?
- Is your goal attainable and realistic?
- Who will directly benefit from the program (sales, client services, supply, etc.)?
- How long will it take to attain this goal?
- What will be the reward be once this goal is reached?
- Is it easily measured and can it be frequently reported/updated for the participants?
Decide on the Incentive
For every example you see citing cash payouts as the best incentive, you’ll see just as many citing non-cash rewards such as trips, jewelry, electronics and other valuable tangible items as
The following are some simple questions to ask when deciding on the type of incentive to implement:
- Do you have a budget? If not, how much is achieving your goals worth to the company? How will the program be funded?
- If you’re offering merchandise, do you have a reliable supplier? What awards should you offer? Should you offer multiple awards and let the winners choose between them?
- What have you offered in the past? Do the participants already earn commissions? If cash is offered, will the participants expect this in the future?
In general, studies have shown that individual incentives are more effective than group incentives. If you’re going to implement cash incentives, you should make sure that these are issued
separately from the regular paycheck. Cash incentives can quickly become viewed as a boost in commissions and hard to take away when the program ends.
Non-cash incentives have the appeal that once the program is over the chance to win the award(s) is gone. They help create urgency for your company incentive programs. Furthermore, non-cash
incentives are often more effective at motivating participants than cash or cash equivalents like gift cards (SalesForceXP, Sept./Oct. 2005 issue). Nearly ¾ of respondents to a 2005 survey of
workplace managers agreed that they can build more effective and memorable company incentive programs around non-cash incentives versus cash.
The Devil Is In the Details – Incentive Plan Management
You have determined your goals and the type of incentive that best suits your needs. Now what? In tracking the progress toward your goals, the performance of your employees and the time to
completion, there are a few key points to consider:
Feedback, Feedback and More Feedback – You should make public the results on a regular basis. Feedback on the performance of your staff is crucial. Lack of focus is the largest inhibitor of
success in company incentive programs. You need to communicate throughout the life of the program to keep the program in the forefront of the participant’s minds. With cash this is hard to do, there
is nothing new to say. In a non-cash program you can highlight different awards each time you communicate to the participants keeping them interested in meeting your goals and earning in the program.
Positive Attitude – As you apprise your staff of their progress, remain optimistic and encouraging. Nothing shuts down motivation faster than negative feedback. Recognize small achievements,
ask how everyone is doing, basically be the cheerleader that rallies the team to the finish line.
Evaluation – Once your goal is complete, candidly assess its effectiveness - what worked and what didn’t. This type of evaluation will be useful when it comes to creating other company
incentive programs as well as considering alternatives to improve an existing program. What did they think of the goals? The awards? The timeframe to earn?
Incentives Marketplace is a performance improvement company devoted to providing clients with a single source for high quality, affordable incentives designed to achieve business goals.
Contact us today with your specific needs and put our incentive programs and experienced staff to work for you! Call 800-934-5474 or send e-mail to:
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