Cash. Merch. Trips. How Incentivizing Really Works.

Posted On: August 18, 2014

Do employees really work harder when they’re given work-related incentives? It is no mystery there are incentive programs working throughout an array of sales organizations. And it is no secret that entire industries are devoted to the management of employee engagement. And thanks to the worldwide web, access to this knowledge is most precisely available at our fingertips.

Does knowing incentive programs exist deter employees? Most emphatically not.

Incentives work. Period. But not just any incentive. A hardworking incentive program is not a cookie cutter model since no program is ideal for every industry or workplace.

The way incentive programs work hard to engage a workforce are twofold:

1. Reminders of the empty space an incentive will fill. Considering the general demographic needs of employees can guide the type of incentive program developed and initiated.

Trips: People in high-power positions with 6-figure salaries don’t need cash or merchandise…they need to escape and experience new scenery.
Cash: Younger people are more invested in making their own choices with money so cash incentives are much more appealing.
Merch: Consider the significance of how working hard pays off in widescreen TVs, iPods or gas grills.

2. Goal-seeking produces singular energy. When employees have a place upon which to focus their attention the entire system of their work habits gets intensified and produces powerful results—both for them and for their companies.

Trips: The possibility of a chance to escape work actually motivates people to delve into their work with unprecedented vigor.
Cash: Once there is a cash incentive announced employees have already made a purchase in their minds. For some the dreams are big: a new motorcycle. For some the dreams are practical: loan pay down. Both are worth all the extra effort they invest in reaching the goal.
Merch: Everyone loves to be a winner and an achiever. What better way to remind again and again employees and their community about a high-intensity goal met with earned merchandise and office bling.


The truth? Employees just will not work as hard in a stagnant environment. Paychecks are necessities and anyone can go through the motions of a job to get one every month. The perks of an incentive program are worth working for—and worth working really hard for.

Imagine the heart of a CEO—they built their company passionate about what their business provides or produces or sells. This same level of passion may not translate in employees—the people entrusted with maintaining the working parts to sell what needs to be sold. Igniting what employees might find passionate in life (travel, money, material possessions) can directly affect a company’s bottom line.

Incentivizing really works.