Considering Outsourcing your Incentive Programs?

April 17, 2015 Deb Broderson


Deb Broderson, CMO

You made the decision to run  incentive programs of some type (Employee Recognition, Sales Incentives, Channel or any other type).  Now,  you are faced with the choice about who should deliver your incentive program. You could build something in-house, manage it on spreadsheets, outsource the program site or outsource both the deployment and support. The right answer is different for everyone. Your decision will depend on budget, program size, and requirements.

Start by understanding why incentive programs fail

  1. Incenting someone isn’t enough. Whether it’s a channel partner, an employee or a consumer of your product – it’s important to understand WHY someone would want to participate.
  2. Do you have the internal knowledge, tools, or DNA to properly construct programs?
  3. Then there are metrics. Can you supply the pre-program evaluation leading to program-objective setting?

Think about what your participants need

Simplicity is important.  Bring your own device (BYOD) and other technology changes have driven a fundamental shift in the expectations of program participants and they are looking for a more “consumerish” experience including simplicity of access, the number of clicks to get to key information,  and the ability to easily access the required information, etc.

Incentive programs should be both inspirational & aspirational.  Successful incentive programs use reinforcement principles, applied to specific behaviors in order to maximize the likelihood of behavior changes.  Recognition alone is not enough; it is frequency, timeliness and messaging that will make a difference.

Implementing  successful incentive programs

All incentive programs, regardless of type, requires a well thought out game plan that defines the challenges and allows you to start your planning process. The choice to implement a rewards and recognition program is easy. Data and research prove that recognizing people fulfills the hierarchy needs of motivation and self-esteem while giving your organization a significant financial payback. Rewarding people motivates them and their peers to aim higher. While this sounds like a recipe for success, disaster may strike if the program does not foster a culture aligned with the company’s culture, goals, and objectives.


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