Guide to Incentive Programs

  • Feb 4, 2023

Maintaining morale is important for all businesses, no matter the industry. Incentives and rewards have always driven the motivation and behavior to help ideas, industries and companies succeed. Incentives inspire the workforce, and the promo industry plays a crucial role in this lifecycle. “Incentives are items that people are willing to change their behavior in some manner to be able to ‘earn.’ A successful program provides options that individuals desire enough to change their habits or increase performance because the offering is important to them in some way,” says Guy Achtzehn, of The Marketing & Sales Group.

The economy depends on employees’ well-being. Most employees are disengaged and unsatisfied. A 2022 report found that only 32% of full- and part-time employees are engaged. Employee engagement has declined every year since 2020. Incentives are a great way to motivate a disengaged workforce. The incentive theory by psychologist Clark Hull says that our actions are driven by our desire for external rewards. We are more likely to study for a test or meet a sales quota if there’s a meaningful and attainable reward like getting good grades or receiving a high-end, name-brand gift.

While promotional products are essential marketing elements for any brand, it's important to recognize the products earned through incentive programs are not the same as advertising. Successful programs are filled with merchandise that has maximum value to the participants. Brand names are a must, as is including items that might be gifted to an employee’s spouse, friends or family, and items that cover a wide range of wants.

Incentive programs should be customized to fit the goals of the organization, and tailored to the desires of the employees. By following the 5 steps below, chances of success are enhanced.

  1. Consider the desired outcome of your incentive program. Be very clear about what it is you want people to be able to do or accomplish. In other words, target your audience.
  2. Use incremental incentives for effective programs. If people do not believe the incentive program’s goals are realistic or that they are personally far from being able to come out on top at the end of the program, they are less likely to be motivated to participate. Offer appealing rewards.
  3. Make incentives visible. At the end of the program, don’t forget to communicate the results with your audience. It is critical to clearly communicate the goals and the awards.
  4. Focus on employee commitment to program goals. For any incentive program to have any drive and purpose to it, the target must be meaningful and motivational to the majority of individuals involved. Incorporate training to help them reach their stretch goals.
  5. Establish rules of conduct for program participants. Establish ethical standards and rules to ensure appropriate practices and correct behavior for everyone involved. Align with your culture.

APTCO stands ready to help you develop an incentive program that is truly your own.

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