By Debbie Szafran, Business Development Manager, Sutton & Associates
Can people be motivated to become engaged at work? I recently was discussing with colleagues wording for incentive travel marketing pieces, and we became fully “engaged” in the matter of motivation versus engagement. After our discussion, I was “motivated” to write this article to stimulate more thought on the subject within your organization.
Does incentive travel help to engage employees? Or, is incentive travel a means for motivating employees to reach specific goals for an established period of time? We believe it is both.
Researchers have found that individuals can be motivated over short periods of time with the use of incentive travel, gift cards, money, and merchandise, as well as a host of other rewards. What also has been found is that incentive travel has a more lasting effect because of the lifetime memory it creates. An individual’s emotional connection, experiencing a new destination with a spouse or guest, has far more return on investment than other rewards that may be instantly gratifying but soon forgotten. The emotional impact keeps employees engaged.
Since company culture is about providing a respectful workplace that encourages loyalty to the company, then providing great leadership, tools, training, and rewards also would be a part of that ideal culture, thus creating engaged employees. The objective is to design incentive programs that motivate the greatest number of employees, beyond the top performers alone. Models have been created to provide tiered incentives, so every employee has an opportunity, based on their level of engagement.
For instance, let’s say we create a three-tiered incentive program. Low performers who feel they may never reach the goals of top performers would have the opportunity to receive a reward by increasing their standard a certain percentage. It may not be the top performer’s goal, but by increasing from where they currently are by a specified percentage, they, too, can be rewarded for their efforts.
The same would hold true for the middle performers. The middle performers usually make up the majority of a company’s workforce and are likely to work toward the top reward. By creating a second-tier level reward, if the middle performers do not make the top reward, they still are rewarded for their increased production or achievements, helping to prevent and eliminate any sense of defeat. With a tiered incentive, all employees are motivated to reach specific goals.
Appreciation that is rewarded through such incentives is part of a company culture that produces engaged employees.
Debbie Szafran is Business Development Manager for Sutton & Associates, a company that specializes in planning incentive travel. For more information, visit www.suttonplanning.com.