How do you tailor rewards to suit staff and consumer audiences?

Both staff incentives and consumer promotions have to be made exciting and engaging, however, there needs to be less hyperbole when communicating with employees thanwith consumers. Employees know you very, very well as an organisation, will have a tendency to be slightly cynical and should always trust in the information they are given. Weakening that trust has major implications across every aspect of employee engagement.

So in employee comms headline grabbing statements should be tempered and you should always avoid a ‘catch’. Whereas whilst trust is still important when communicating consumer promotions,  consumer are savvy enough to know that there will be a mechanic of some kind, for example, only one in 1,000 may win the headline prize. So with consumers, the headline is all important to grab attention.

To be most successful motivation and incentive schemes must be tailored and suited to the aspirations of the target audience. For this the manager needs to know what drives their people. The particular needs and aspirations of a nineteen year old girl are usually poles apart from those of a fifty nine year old man, yet both may be working under the same scheme. Managers need to look closely at the overall range of the people in the teams and even research – ask them. Then give them as wide a choice as possible.

Headline prizes can be used to grab attention and generate interest. However, the communication has to be honest and open and communicate what is realistic for the average, good and high performing employees, so that each employee can associate themselves with a general performance and the personal incentive reward that they might get out of it.  Therefore, there has to be inspiration in the internal marketing, but it must communicate the ‘down to earth’ options as well, for example voucher or reward card scheme options. So the key difference is the use of headline grabbing inspiration, and providing more detail for employees, so that they can engage on a long term basis, rather than just for a quick response such as buying a product. 

Are there certain products that are more popular or work better with staff or consumer programmes?  

Cash is normally the preferred option for employees. However several studies and working practice over the years have shown that cash is ultimately not as effective as non cash rewards. It disappears into the household budget and, unless it pays for a specific long-lasting purchase, has no longer term memorable ‘trophy value’. In fact non-cash rewards can be more beneficial compared with cash in increasing staff morale, enhancing teamwork, raising customer satisfaction and re-establishing values and culture.

Which reward to offer really depends upon the nature of the program,  its objectives, the duration of the programme and the intended audience. If a company is aiming to motivate the top 5% of performers only then it might utilise incentive travel however, if it is trying to motivate the top 50% it might use a mixture of incentive travel, high end rewards and perhaps a points banking mechanism allowing individuals to collect points for a bigger prize.

Ultimately, we find that anything that offers choice is key with employees; so pointsbanking, vouchers, reward cards are always the most redeemed options.

Adrian Duncan

Motivation Account Director – New Business

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