There’s no doubt that times have changed significantly from just one year ago, and the way brands connect with their consumers is no exception. Brands plan months, and sometimes years, in advance but were forced to shift their messaging overnight. This year taught us that being agile is a necessity if you want your business to be successful.
For many companies, 2021 will be an attempt to crawl out of the hole caused by 2020, and the goal for most is the same: increase revenue and sales. The most common reemergence questions I’ve received from brands revolve around how brands can personalize their consumer experiences, maximize their communications, increase consumer trust, and build loyalty. While these questions are extremely valid, there is a follow-up question that is asked less frequently: “How can we leverage our employees to help us reach these goals?” This question is so important, and the answer is so simple. If your business is struggling, there is a good chance your employees are too. So, help achieve your goals more quickly by adding an employee incentive program.
Employee incentives are not only proven to work, but they are fairly easy to execute. Whether it’s a stand-alone program or an overlay to a consumer facing one, now is the time to implement. Below are a few tips on how to execute an effective employee incentive program:
Make It Fun
Have a few incentives going at once or alternate the incentives. For example, hold an individual contest for top ten highest performers, but also award the top five locations for highest percentage of sales increase. Offering incentives will promote friendly competition and encourage teamwork.
Keep It Simple
Make sure your employees don’t have to jump too many hurdles to “get on the board.” Be clear and concise in the messaging to your employees, and always brief your manager(s) surrounding the details of the program. Back office posters and other reminders throughout the office (and virtually) are helpful for employees so the incentive program is always top of mind.
Make It Attainable
In addition to the few higher value prizes, include several lower value items to allow for more winners. The more employees who win, the higher the perception of winning a prize is to everyone and the more employees will participate.
Another option is to add a sweepstakes component. For example, each of the top ten highest performing individuals will still receive $1,000, but those who came in 11th to 25th place will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win $500.
Make the Prize Desirable
Make sure the higher valued prizes are appropriate for the ask and desirable enough to increase employee participation. Some prize inspirations are:
- Extra cash deposited in their next paycheck
- Paid phone bill for a year
- Paid car payments
- Pick Your Prize: Have a variety of prizes to choose from so the prize feels personal
- Visa Gift Cards
- Scholarship funds
- Extra pay day or time off
- Shopping spree
- Tickets to see their favorite sports team
- Donation to winner’s choice of charity
An employee incentive program on its own won’t solve all your problems overnight, but it will help you reach your goals, in tandem with your other initiatives, at a much faster pace. Whether you are looking to increase your loyalty database, drive sales, push a new product, or collect survey data, consider rewarding your employees for helping to achieve those goals together. You’ll be able to retain your hardest working (and happiest) employees, your consumers will have a better brand experience, and your sales will continue to increase. Everybody wins!