As the year winds down to a close (already?), you may have some top performers who deserve more than just a bonus. But how can you say thanks in a truly meaningful way? One of the best ways is through individual rewards. First, let’s lay out some scenarios to make sure you fit the ticket.
Scenario A: An employee of yours has been working tirelessly all year to meet deadlines, boost sales, think strategically, and trouble-shoot when necessary. You’ve noticed that they’re often the first one into the office and one of the last ones to leave. You can’t remember the last time they missed a day of work.
Come to think of it, when they asked for a few days’ vacation a while ago, it happened to be during that big marketing push the company was making. You requested that they postpone their plans because you really needed them to be present and make sure things ran smoothly.
They said, “No problem,” and came to work and helped do exactly that.
Scenario B: Over the past year, you’ve implemented a successful points-based incentive program for your sales team. Sales are up and ROI is looking good. But recently, one of your salespeople has had a particularly strong quarter—stronger than anyone expected.
Not only have they turned a couple of relatively big prospects into clients, they’ve also helped generate a few leads for another member of your sales team. And this is in addition to the existing portfolio of clients they’ve been successfully managing and putting in extra time with to make sure the relationships remain strong.
They’ve even been proactive with that one especially demanding client, suggesting ideas to the rest of your client management team and helping to pitch them to the client. Another client has half-jokingly remarked that they’d consider going elsewhere if it weren’t for this particular salesperson.
Now, in which of these two scenarios would an individual incentive reward be best suited?
The answer is: both.
On the one hand, individual incentives are a great way to recognize outstanding employees, salespeople, or customers. These one-off rewards can serve a variety of functions, including:
- Rewarding a particularly impressive, one-time sales performance
- Offering a tangible “thank you” to a team member for clear value added over a period of time
- Acknowledging a length-of-service anniversary for a loyal employee
- Recognizing an individual from a third party’s staff, whose effort has clearly gone above and beyond what was expected
- Praising someone who has especially demonstrated company values
While this type of reward may seem a bit superfluous (as in, “why should I reward someone for doing their job?”), it’s actually become common practice among most businesses.
In fact, according to a study conducted by SHRM and Globoforce, over 80% of the companies surveyed had some form of recognition program in place. This means that as many modern-day employees admit to working harder when they are recognized for their efforts, their bosses and managers are creating employee recognition systems.
Now, part of the draw to individual incentives in particular is that they’re flexible, multi-purpose, cost-effective, and easy to implement. They can be used as standalone reward offerings, as part of a broader sweepstakes-like initiative, or even as a complement to an existing incentive offering.
In other words, even if you already have a performance improvement program in place for your customers, salespeople, etc., a one-time individual incentive can still prove incredibly useful, working much like a short-term program, but without the additional effort and hands-on management that’s usually required.
Maybe you run an existing points program for your top customers, and you’re releasing a new product just as the program is about to conclude. Rather than try to cobble together a short-term program to produce a spike in purchases of this product, a customized, uniquely targeted individual incentive reward may be able to achieve similar results while using far less organizational bandwidth.
So, whether your goal is to motivate somebody to produce a certain behavior, or you simply want to reward them after-the-fact, an individual incentive is a highly versatile tool that can achieve desired results at multiple touch points throughout an organization.
But the real key to its success—and its versatility—is not just in how it’s used, but in what it offers.
After all, a gift is only as valuable as our desire for it (another sweater from Grandma just isn’t as exciting as a new Xbox One X or a gift card to that new restaurant in town).
So, in order to really maximize the value of an individual incentive, it really needs to offer a suite of scalable rewards that will give you your maximum return on experience. Send them to a long list of locations or events that provide them with memories they’ll never forget.
Maybe it’s a week-long getaway to St. Lucia; or maybe a weekend trip for two to see the football game of their choice. Whatever the destination, customize it to their desires and they’ll remember you and your company every time they think of that wonderful trip.
Being able to customize your reward in a number of different ways will help you cater to your audience and provide that much needed motivation or recognition that’s just right for them.
Interested in offering your customer, employee, or salesperson a unique individual incentive award? Check out HMI’s Just for You packages to learn more.