Incentive - August 2008 - (Page 80)

AWARDS Incite And Incent: Rewards On The Spot By Stan Breckenridge, MAS, Chairman of the Board, Promotional Products Association International W e are all familiar with the idea of “something for something,” and while we should not always expect to get something for everything, it is nice to be recognized for going above and beyond, especially if this recognition is initiated on the spot. If employees do something worth rewarding, why wait to reward them? By doing it immediately, the result is usually that desired behavior is remembered and repeated. Spur-of-the-moment recognition is also a great way to motivate employees, build team morale and increase productivity. A thoughtful, yet inexpensive, way to reward employees can be achieved by using promotional products. A step further than a pat on the back, promotional products as incentives serve as an operative way to say “thank you,” which ultimately cultivates an efficient and collaborative work environment where employees feel involved and appreciated. One of the unique characteristics of promotional products is their ability to motivate and drive behavior. Like dangling a carrot, promotional items are a tangible way to incite and incent specific actions in employees. Example: A Texas company has undergone a traumatic downsizing, and the employees left on the payroll are struggling. To motivate the remaining staff, HR uses an attractive, personalized desk pen set accompanied by a thank-you note for “hanging in there.” Why it worked: Unpredictable always beats routine certainties. Also, small gifts often reinforce better than pricey ones, and big bonuses usually don’t work as well, because they are often seen as political and are resented by workers who don’t get one. Why it worked: Team morale, camaraderie and healthy competition: three sound ingredients for boosting productivity. Not to mention the return-on-investment. For the price of a few items, the company saw a huge boost in sales over the course of this one-day event. Example: A Connecticut company organizes a one-day sale where sales representatives are given 24 hours to get their prospect lists together, and then call on current radio advertisers, those who haven’t advertised in a while and new prospects. Lunchtime is called “halftime,” and the troops are rounded up for the first awards ceremony of the day to recognize those who have garnered the most business before lunch. At the end of the day, top producers pull envelopes from a “giving tree,” which is actually a tree drawn on a chalkboard. Inside the envelopes are pieces of paper with unexpected prizes written on them: watches, a branded MP3 player, cigars and golf clubs. Example: An Iowa company wanted to create a positive work environment, while increasing productivity and reducing stress. The “Believe Attitude Counts” campaign used promotional products in a fun way. Tshirts, candy packets and squirt guns were given to employees to illustrate the theme. Employees had not really done much out of the ordinary; nevertheless, unexpectedly the company put together a campaign as well as a few items to encourage employees to be mindful of their attitude and to remember to have fun. Why it worked: Who couldn’t use a fun day at work? Employee reinforcement is one of the key elements in a collaborative work environment where employees feel involved and appreciated. However, regular reinforcement loses impact because it comes to be expected. Therefore, as illustrated in the examples given, unpredictable and intermittent reinforcements are more effective in getting desired results. Send comments to 80 | Incentive | August 2008 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - August 2008

Incentive - August 2008
Editor's Note
In the News
Cover Story: Amgen and Avnet, a Pair of Fortune 200 companies, are taking two very Different Approaches to Rolling out a Global Recognition Program
Incentive Interview: Author, Speaker, Professor, Refugee; Steve L. Robbins’ many hats have led him to ask, “What if ... The World isn’t as We Think It Is?”
Case Study: Rudi’s Organic Bakery Found that an incentive trip with a Strong Social Responsibility Component Works Wonders
Gift Card IQ
Banking on Relationships
Corporate Comics Make Serious Points
Incentive Primer: Tom Miller
Gas Incentives Rev Up
Legal Ease: Pitfalls Beyond Taxes
My Turn: Airline Frequent Flier Programs
Travel News: Where To Go and What To Do
Amalfi Coast: A Classic Italian Destination
Hong Kong: The Original Chinese Incentive
Ireland: South, East, West, and Now North
potentials Here and Now
Electronics: Top Tech Trends
Luxury Goods: Exceptional Awards
Corporate Gifting: Rules and Ideas
Excite and Incent: Spot Rewards
Advertiser Index
Off the Cuff: Hollis H. Malone

Incentive - August 2008