Perhaps the greatest benefit of company incentive plans is their flexibility and scalability. A company incentive plan could be as specific as a sales reward system, or it could include customer loyalty, training, customer referral, and employee motivation strategies. Various tools, technology, and services available allow you to select the components best suited to your needs, then expand and scale the incentive program to maximize its results. If you're not combining technology, services, and data that can help you build a company incentive plan that's more than just rewards, you're missing out on major benefits and growth. Here are some ways you can rethink and revamp your incentive plan:
Collaborate with experts on your company incentive plans.
Your company incentive plans stand to benefit greatly from expert consultation on the plans’ strategy and structure. Any incentive program provider worth partnering with will offering you these services. During the incentive program planning phase, experts can help you:
Choose the right goals.
This is not to say that you should let incentive experts tell you what your goal is. But your program provider should be able to advise you on whether your goal is specific, measurable, and realistic. They should offer useful insights and strategies on how to reach your goal.
Choose the right rewards strategy.
Not all rewards are created equal. For example: cash rewards may seem like the most low-maintenance and cost-efficient option, but that’s typically not the case. The psychological explanations behind this are complex, but the primary reason seems to be that people invest more mental and emotional energy into tangible, non-cash rewards.
Utilize strategic incentive software tools and features.
Are you making the most of the tools and technology available to enhance your company incentive plans? Which features are worth investing in to improve your incentive plan’s performance? Here are a few of the tool + strategy combinations I recommend, to get you started in your research:
Make the program easier for participants to use.
- Making an incentive program available as a mobile app can greatly improve the program’s adoption and engagement rates. These days, no one goes anywhere without their smartphones. Work and play both are condensed into these little devices. When your program participants download your incentive program app, it’s more likely to become part of their everyday lives.
- Offering an online document upload tool allows your participants to upload any relevant files directly to your incentive program. For instance, salespeople can submit sales claim documentation such as warranty registrations, invoices, and receipts instantly, even directly from the field.
- Incentive program integration can incorporate your incentive program directly into your corporate website’s navigation. This eliminates the need for them to remember an outside program link, and facilitates a more cohesive experience.
Increase program engagement and adoption.
- Gamification features such as Spin to Win or Scratch Off enrollment bonuses can trigger participants’ emotional and pleasure responses to the program. With this fun, kick-off perk, participants can earn rewards the moment they sign up. Thanks to a phenomenon known as the endowed progress effect, people are more likely to use the program if they’ve already made some progress.
- You can use on-the-spot reward certificates—either physical or digital—to instantly reward program participants for any behavior you choose. Did someone bring up a great point in a company meeting? Did a manager “catch someone in the act” when they were going beyond the call of duty? These impromptu rewards add an element of surprise that engages and excited participants.
Outsource incentive plan management to save time and resources.
When it comes to managing your company incentive plans, you have three options: hire an incentive program manager, give the responsibility to one or more current employees, or rely on your incentive program provider’s management services. Here are a few of the services you can benefit from when you outsource management to the experts:
- Full time participant support. With any software comes the inevitable technological hiccup, interface, or user error. If one of your participants forgets their program login information, needs more details on a reward delivery, or has questions about their reward balance, a trained and dedicated team of participant support specialists can help resolve these issues quickly. Incentive companies like Incentive Solutions even offer you the option to give the participant support team specific, scripted responses so that their expertise is combined with the exact brand experience you want to convey.
- Reward fulfillment services. An incentive program provider who has direct relationships with reward vendors? And they also provide reward fulfillment services? That lifts a heavy load of responsibility off your shoulders. Instead of tracking and managing reward deliveries yourself, you can rely on a team of reward vendor specialists to have all the information on-hand at all times, and answer inquiries quickly.
- In-house IT and programming. An incentive software provider with in-house IT and programming ensures that your program’s data security and functionality aren’t in the hands of a third-party company you don’t work with. With this service, an incentive program provider is also able to instantly apply a program update or improvement to all clients’ programs.
When you partner with an incentive program provider who offers more than a software commodity, you benefit from the services and expertise that can greatly enhance the performance of your company incentive plans. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, solicit input, or propose new ideas. That’s the kind of collaboration and big-picture thinking that creates the greatest competitive differentiation.