LinJen Promotions
Linda Heyse-Highland and Jennifer Savor, Founders of LinJen Promotions
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"Linda is a high energy individual who brings a positive outlook and creative concepts together to provide great ideas for addressing business goals. Whether the goal is internal team motivation or customer related, she brings expertise to deliver successful incentive or behavior reinforcement programs."
A. Bratton, Lextech Global Services
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"People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we we recommend it daily."
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Inspiring Excellence
A Quick Guide to Motivating Employees with Incentives
Consumer incentives and loyalty programs are plentiful right now. Everywhere you turn someone is trying to give you an incentive to buy what they have to offer. Cars, houses, you name it. But what about employees? It seems that too many of us have forgotten about incentivizing them and rewarding them for a job well done.

If your company is like most others, employees are being stretched thinner than ever. Yet the recognition for their efforts has been greatly reduced or in many cases completely done away with. So how do you show them your appreciation for what they have done during this difficult economic period? How do you motivate your people to excel in their job rather than just survive it?

Employee Incentives
Getting Started
There are several different types of incentive programs, and each is designed to achieve a different result. Of course, one of the most common is a sales incentive program designed to generate more productivity and revenue from a sales force. But what about safety programs for your drivers and laborers? Why not reward your customer service representatives with an on-the-spot gift as recognition for going above and beyond to solve a customer issue? Simply put, there is a way to motivate every member of your staff.

The first step in running an incentive or recognition program is to clearly define your goals. What specific result do you want to achieve, and how can you engage your employees and modify their behavior in order to get that desired result? Remember that in a formal program, whatever it is that you are rewarding them for needs to be measurable. As you begin to put together your incentive program, it is important to make sure that the rules of the program are clearly defined and easy to understand. The fewer rules you have to implement in order to reach your desired result, the better.

Employee Incentives
Another key element to a successful program is communication. You can’t just announce a program and then leave it largely ignored until the completion date. The more often you communicate progress and status updates, the more likely the participant is to continually strive for that next level of recognition, and the greater the return for you.

The Cash Trap
One of the traps that people often fall into is taking the path of least resistance…cash. Study after study has shown that cash is the least effective reward in an incentive program.

People love to show their friends and family “stuff.” If they won a flat panel television in an incentive program, they will tell everyone they know what their employer gave them for doing their job well. Conversely, with few exceptions people aren’t showing off their bonus check to their neighbors. Not to mention that when you developed this incentive program, it’s unlikely that your intention was to pay your employee’s electric bill. But that’s an inherent risk with cash incentive programs. Once that money is deposited into their checking account, the program and reward is quickly forgotten.

The most significant pitfall with cash incentives is that when you give someone cash as an incentive they tend to view it as compensation. If the program does not run the following year or if the participant does not reach the goal the following year, this can negatively impact their perception. The impression is not that they were rewarded last year. Instead, their perception is that they took a pay cut this year.

Employee Incentives
Special Delivery
The most overlooked part of many incentive programs is the delivery of the reward. I am a firm believer that the experience of receiving the award is just as important as the award itself.

Remember that receiving their award is the last impression they will have of the incentive program. For example, when you reward someone with a flat panel TV, consider having it delivered “white glove.” Do you want them to turn it on every night and be reminded that they earned it as a reward for reaching their goals? Or do you want them to turn it on every night and remember that they had to drag the box in from the porch and spend three hours assembling it?

Also, don’t be afraid to present people with their award in front of their peers. People love to be recognized, and you may even motivate those who didn’t receive an award to put in that extra effort next time.

Employee Incentives
Finally, make sure your incentive plan is fun. You want people to be engaged. If you are running a short-term incentive plan, it might be a good idea to theme the program. Items that are relevant to the season or current events tend to motivate people even more. Outdoors packages in the spring, travel-related items in the summer, tailgate packages in the fall…these are all ways to keep your programs fresh.

Be the Best
Employee incentive programs will help you keep your best employees motivated and help you keep your best employees engaged. Most importantly they’ll just help you keep your best employees.
Source: Premium Incentive Products Magazine, September/October 2010

If you are ready to inspire excellence in your employees, contact Linda Heyse-Highland at 708.478.8222 x225 or