The rise of the engagement field will have a major impact on the way organizations use rewards in terms of award selection, presentation and personalization. That’s the key takeaway from the recent webinar, “The Rise of Engaging Rewards,” presented by Bruce Bolger, Founder of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, and Allan Schweyer, Chairman of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, with guest speaker Mike Donnelly, President of Hinda Incentives.
Click here for an archived recording.
According to Schweyer, who is also Research Director for the Incentive Research Foundation, all of the research related to rewards & recognition points to the importance of the following critical issues often overlooked by users of rewards, recognition and incentive programs.
Making a distinction between compensation and recognition. Over the last 20 years, the Incentive Research Foundation has supported a wide range of studies that suggest the vast majority of reward programs still get it wrong by failing to make a clear distinction between compensation and recognition. Because no one receives training for engagement, rewards and recognition, many organizations confuse cash compensation or pricing discounts with non-cash rewards for exceptional performance or added value offers to customers or distribution partners as part of efforts to forge better relationships.
Program design. Carrots alone do not work and often lead to bad behaviors, such as what happened at Wells Fargo. Any type of incentive, recognition, loyalty, or other related campaign should keep people focused on not only the goals, but also the best ways to achieve them – i.e., those actions which if done more consistently will yield the desired result. Effective program design includes multiple performance measures so that people get rewarded for both results and for the right behaviors.
Rewards selection. Research indicates that the most sustainable engagement is generated when people are motivated both intrinsically and extrinsically. While executives are known to sometimes ask: “Why should we reward them when we pay them to do their jobs?” research and common sense suggest that people will perform on a sustainable basis when they feel both inspired and empowered (intrinsic motivation) and materially rewarded (extrinsic). Despite this, many companies rely either only on intrinsic rewards (and provide little of value in rewards) or slant too much on the extrinsic by failing to understand that the selection of the reward and its presentation are critical to generating sustained results. The logic behind the selection of rewards for employees, customers and distribution partners is no different than that of selecting gifts for loved ones: the more thought and care in the selection, the better.
Rewards presentation and presentation: As demonstrated in the presentation by Hinda Incentives President Mike Donnelly, the way rewards are presented in terms of packaging and customization goes a long way toward distinguishing them from compensation or cash-equivalents. Donnelly demonstrated many ways that firms such as his and other Master Fulfillment Companies and brands in the field can turn an ordinary award into a memorable experience. In the conclusion, the EEA’s Bolger reported on a telephone survey of leading Master Fulfillment Companies that specialize in this field, finding that only a small portion of the awards they fulfill utilize customization or personalization services. The research provides a compelling argument for marketers and human resources management to rethink the way they use rewards in order to achieve the best long-term results.
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