Last year, I took part in a travel program in Cancun that was run by HMI. The program hosted industry experts and HMI customers from all parts of the world. The forum gave us all the opportunity to discuss best practices, trends, and the future direction of the performance incentive space.
Over the course of the program, there were a few terms that were repeated frequently: “Hard Benefits” and “Soft Benefits” of an incentive program. A hard benefit can be described as something easily measured using an analytic approach. These benefits include items such as increased sales, increased margin, increased productivity and the like. A soft benefit, however, is a success indicator that is not as easily measured but equally – if not more - important. Soft benefits are, at many times, the main motivators behind increased sales, brand loyalty, and referrals.
An example of a soft benefit would be something like the offsite group excursion we took on this trip to Cancun. The excursion was an optional “Swim with the Dolphins” experience. Roughly 20 people attended, and interestingly, not one of the 20 participants (from varying countries and age ranges) had participated in an experience like this before.
This excursion proved to be beyond everyone’s expectations. I was taken aback, as was most everyone participating, as we thought we would be swimming with the dolphins and not actually riding them! I can tell you that this experience created a bond between everyone in the group as being something we will always remember from this program. The overwhelming response from the group was, “This was out of my comfort zone and I would not have done this on my own. I am so happy that I did.”
We concluded this experience by handing out a disc to all the participants of personal pictures of them with the dolphins. By providing the “soft benefit” of this excursion, we at HMI anticipate not only increasing our business with existing clients, but also fostering business between clients. Most importantly, we managed to bring a group of people together and create lifetime bond that we will never forget – and whose long term benefits can’t be measured.
If you are interested in running a meeting, hosting a customer forum, or bringing your top producers offsite you should consider looking into how HMI can help. With years of experience and unparalleled service, we have the expertise to make your companies next program truly unforgettable.