Employee Incentives your Employees will Will Work For! Part 1

Two of my clients recently asked about employee incentives:

“What are some creative ideas for employee incentives instead of the usual things that everyone else does?” – Sandra, CEO of an HR Company


“…with a diversified group of employees at a small business, how do you find employee incentive items (gift rewards) that will feel rewarding to each person, since each person has different wants/needs/values for what they find rewarding.  I don’t want to waste time/money on items that only a few people appreciate.” – Julie, Manager of a veterinary clinic

Today I will discuss Incentive Programs:

Remember those programs way back in the day where your boss gave you a catalog full of cool gifts for you to choose from? Well, those programs are still alive and well today, available on-line in addition to print catalogs. These programs are highly successful for one very good reason: your employees choose their own gift.

There are at least two ways these programs can be implemented:

  • Memorable Gift Booklets – recipients choose their own gifts from preset price tiers.
  • Incentive Point-Programs  – participants accrue points redeemable for merchandise.

Memorable Gift Booklets: A simple gift redemption program with no minimums. You choose the value of the gifts and pay the costs up front. Your employees never see a price, and they choose their own gift. This is typical of a holiday gift giving program or years of service program, but can also be used as an incentive program where you want a fixed up front cost for a limited period. An example of how this works can be seen here on this short video:

Memorable Gift Booklets

Incentive Point-Programs: This is a pay as you go type program. The fixed cost of points based incentive programs is 20% – 30% of the program. But here’s the best part: the remaining 70% – 80% does not get paid out until the program has achieved its goals and the rewards have been issued and redeemed. This makes the program highly measurable, and as such, also possible to calculate how much to invest to achieve your best ROI. For example, if the behavior change you are incentivizing will result in higher sales volume, you can calculate the average Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and decide what kind of investment makes sense for you return. (CLV is the amount of revenue a typical customer will generate for your company during his or her engagement with your brand.)

The cost of this type of program is based on how much or how little you want to be involved in administering it. It is more expensive to do a points based program than to, say, give the employee a choice between a cool water bottle and a tote bag, but you stand a far better chance of getting a return on your investment when your employee can earn the gift of their choice.

To see an example of current gift selections with one of my suppliers, see their online catalog: www.gifthdq.com/cag18.

BONUS: email me at laurel@IDonTheWeb.com for a FREE e-book that relates to Holiday Gift Programs:


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