Staples Advantage Survey Shows 1 in 3 Would Work Extra Week Each Year for Company Incentive Program
If your business is suffering from low workforce motivation, consider adding an incentive program. According to survey results from Staples Advantage, Framingham, Mass., the business-to-business division of Staples Inc., incentive programs—which reward employees for meeting performance-based milestones—can help bolster performance and morale. Results show that one-third of office workers would even be willing to put in an extra workweek each year if it meant their company would implement one.
Meanwhile, for employees that already participate in company-driven incentive programs, the benefits are clear. These participants say the programs have made them:
- Feel more valued (85 percent)
- Happier and more motivated at work (70 percent)
- More loyal to their company (65 percent)
- More productive and able to get better results (about 60 percent)
What Would You Give for An Incentive Program?
Results show that incentive programs can serve as valuable recruitment tools. In fact, more than 70 percent of employees at companies without incentive programs say they'd love to work for a company that has one. In addition to working an extra week each year, these employees would be willing to make other sacrifices if it meant their company would implement an incentive program. For example:
- 30 percent say they would take on extra responsibilities
- More than 40 percent would be in favor of forgoing the annual holiday party
"Employees often love a little extra incentive to achieve goals—and employers are eager to find unique ways to deliver results," said Anne McKeough, vice president, Staples Promotional Products, the promotional products and incentives business for Staples Advantage. "Incentive programs promote a competitive and rewarding culture and, if creatively and effectively implemented, can strengthen company morale."
Best Practices for Implementation
While incentive programs are often tailored to the needs of individual organizations, there are common elements and best practices that contribute to success. These include aligning the program with established business goals, selecting effective rewards, reinforcing brand values, providing frequent redemption opportunities and promoting involvement from every level of the business. Providing clear and timely communication is also key to ensuring that employees know what is available to them and how to attain it.
For companies that are starting or refining incentive programs, it's also helpful to keep employee feedback in mind. Incentive program participants' top two recommendations for improving their companies' incentive programs were increasing the frequency of rewards and offering more reward options. Participants also wish their programs recognized them for:
- Mentoring others (45 percent)
- Fostering teamwork (40 percent)
- Working on weekends (35 percent)
- Driving company morale (35 percent)
Incentive Program Participants: In It to Win It
Incentives are often most effective when they're unique. The top five most sought-after reward categories according to incentive program participants are travel, electronics, small household appliances, bags and entertainment.
Respondents recounted some of the most memorable rewards they'd received—spanning everything from mini-fridges and home theaters to trips abroad and even doggie life jackets. These items are desired so much that more than 60 percent admit to coveting what their coworkers have earned.
About the Survey
Staples Advantage conducted an online survey, with responses from more than 170 office workers at companies of various sizes and across industries. The survey, completed in July 2011, queried both incentive program participants, as well as employees whose companies do not currently offer incentive programs. Respondents spanned various levels and departments within their organizations.