I’ve always been a fan of company incentive programs that use a combination of cash and tangible rewards to measurably improve performance. Maybe it’s just me but, unless a reward involves a huge amount of money, receiving something I can touch and feel has always felt more motivating, especially when the item is something I desire.
Certainly, in some industries and some situations, cash is still king and can be an appropriate and very powerful motivator. However, statistics show that a company can actually increase results and potentially save money by designing a recognition or incentive rewards program that offers both cash and non-cash prizes. As Chairman of the Incentive Federation recently confirmed, “…the average cost of a cash award is roughly triple that of either merchandise or gift cards”. Further, the Aberdeen Group, a well-respected market research firm, suggests that, “Companies that use non-cash rewards and recognition programs report higher revenue increases – 9.6 percent as opposed to 3 percent who don’t”. This explains why recent research conducted by Incentive Magazine revealed that, in just the last year, “64.3% of the respondents purchase dining/restaurant gift cards for their incentive programs”.
To ensure your promotional incentive program is as compelling as possible, it pays to select rewards that are tailored to your team. For instance, if I know an employee dining out, picking up a token gift card from Restaurant.com is an easy, low cost way to say “thanks” for a job well done. It may not be a grand gesture, such as a vacation, but for many, recognition of the little details can be incredibly motivating.
There are lots of ways to construct a compelling incentive program but, if strong business performance and more motivated employees are your goal, be sure both cash and non-cash awards are used.