Incentive Program Best Practices that Work

May 8, 2015 Deb Broderson


incentive programs that  work

As someone involved in deploying and supporting various types of incentive programs,  my team and I get to see first-hand the impact of decisions made during the design phase of a project.  Here is a recap of what we see as some industry best practices when it comes to delivering incentive programs that work.

Incentive Programs that work best practices

  1. Demographics play a significant role in the creation of an engaging, sustainable incentive program. By understanding your participants’ region, ages, salary levels, certifications, etc., you have a better idea of corresponding motivators, expectations, and values, just to name a few.
  2. The easier it is for your participant to actively enage with your program, the better. In today’s world, ease of doing business (is about delivering a consumer-like experience with program available anytime and anywhere via smartphones, tablets and apps. Keeping you program simple by minimizing complexity does wonders to include participation and is a critical element to satisfaction and loyalty.
  3. Reward the right behaviors by first, identifying what is needed to achieve your corporate goals.  Are you trying to improve retention rates, client satisfaction scores, increase sales, improve wellness, etc? Once that is determined, then assess the actions or behaviors participants need meet those goals. Thinking the behaviors through will ensure that you aren’t just giving away money for actions your participant would have taken without the program and/or teaching bad habits.
  4. Target each audience with the right value propositions and create an optimized value exchange between vendor and partner or organization and employee. Choose your rewards carefully and target your audience with the right value proposition. Messaging needs to change based upon the users role in the company. A sales rep, a sales manager and someone working in the warehouse will be driven to engage in the program by different messages and values.
  5. Then communicate and communicate some more.  Incentive programs that work requires constant communications.  A multi-channel plan that includes social, direct mail, email, company meetings, break room posters, etc. will drive awareness, increase participation, and link the business benefit to the participant benefit. When it comes to communication, our best advice is to start early and don’t stop! Have a fun theme, proactive updates, and give your participants a reason to stay involved.  As you plan your communication strategy, consider these options:
    • Tweet  top performer information on a weekly basis
    • Provide video interviews from top performers
    • Broadcast milestone achievements
    • Post photos to Instagram of winners with their rewards
    • Share stories of people of won trips

 I’d love to hear what you are doing to make your incentive programs work.


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