What Your Employees Want in an Employee Incentive Program

What do your employees want in an employee incentive program?

A study conducted by The International Society for Performance Improvement provided some startling findings.  Of the respondents, 99% of employees surveyed highly value incentive programs.  However, 98% also have complaints about how their incentive program was implemented.


Often times we, at Tango Card, find it boils down to a few different issues – the recognition is subjective, not frequent enough and is not tied to key performance indicators, or the reward options available are boring.  Did you know that a survey conducted by First Data found that the majority of respondents chose a $25 gift card over a $50 gift item?  Think about it…how many watches do you really need? Boring.


This reminded me of a story.  The other day I was talking to someone about their rewards program.  What he said really hit home.  He said, “I received a reward for being at the company for 5 years.  When I went to redeem my reward from the catalog my employer’s rewards program offered, I couldn’t decide what I wanted.  None of the options were appealing.  I finally settled on a new TV.  When I went to read the reviews of the TV, it got only 2 out of 5 stars. I was disappointed.”

We hear that a lot from people that have a rewards program based on a catalog.  Often times you’re stuck redeeming your reward for something you don’t want or a gift that is less than impressive.  Either way, you are left disappointed.  He was.  There are better ways to reward someone for being a loyal employee.

So, when you create, review or re-imagine your employee rewards program think about this:

  • Are your rewards directly tied to the company goals?
  • Are your rewards time-based or behavior-based?
  • Are your rewards impactful? Do employees value the reward options? Are they meaningful to the employee?
  • And, how much does your rewards program cost in both dollars and sense?

Tackling those questions will help you achieve your ultimate goal – happy, productive employees.  Still not sure?  Chew on this stat from the same International Society for Performance Improvement study – “When tangible incentives are carefully selected, implemented, and monitored, they increase incentivized work performance an average of 22%”.  There’s the beef.

One Response to “What Your Employees Want in an Employee Incentive Program”

  1. Card Truth January 16, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    I am definitely chewing on this one, ““When tangible incentives are carefully selected, implemented, and monitored, they increase incentivized work performance an average of 22%”. There’s the beef.” I do believe the employees are vital to the company’s success. They should be treated right in terms of compensation, incentives, and morale. When they feel good deep inside, they will perform well. This will be a win-win situation both for the company (more income) and the employees (stable job).

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