There’s no denying it: a proper reward program improves worker productivity and performance. A white paper by the Incentive Research Foundation analyzed a variety of studies about the effectiveness of award programs. It found that companies that used reward programs saw a 44 to 48 percent gain in productivity after half a year of implementation. And while cash rewards are what companies often provide, it’s no longer what today’s employees want. This is because the money just disappears into their regular expenses, like phone and utility bills.
If you want your incentive program to be effective and meaningful, you should give your workers experiential rewards. Experiential rewards give your workers access to fun and unique experiences. This can include access to private events, exclusive workshops, vacations, and even expensive concerts. They’re more meaningful than monetary rewards because they’re more memorable.
Cash just blends into everyday expenses. Experiences live in the minds of your employees for as long as they live, especially if they have souvenirs from those experiences like pictures, branded eco bags, keychains, and more. And since a lot of companies provide monetary rewards, you can easily distinguish yours from the rest of the pack.
A survey by Blueboard, a consultancy company that focuses on experiential rewards, found that over 92% of employees said that their motivation to perform increased when they received an experiential reward from the firm. Over 97% of them even said that Blueboard’s experiential rewards are a great benefit when it comes to recruiting top talent.
It’s obvious that experiential rewards are effective in improving employee morale and productivity. But which ones are best to give to your workers?
A 2009 study on why people choose to eat out found that there are a variety of reasons behind their fascination for eating at restaurants. The first one is that restaurants provide a time-saving and convenient way to get nourishment. Second, they’re great places for entertainment and celebrations. Lastly, they provide people with access to food from different ethnicities and cultures. Everyone loves good food from a great restaurant. As such, coupons for luxurious food places or hotels are great experiential rewards. You can never go wrong with them. Just make sure that you provide coupons that are worth at least two meals, as it’s likely that your employees will bring a companion or two along with them.
In the age of streaming, where people can easily access the high-quality music they want on-demand, live shows are still quite popular. In a study published in the Frontiers in Psychology, people go to concerts to share their experiences with a group of people, like their loved ones or fellow fans. It provides concert-goers with a deeper connection with the artist, as they’re actually seeing the music they love performed in front of them in the same room. It also provides excitement through spontaneity, as live music performances may be tweaked by the artists to be more interesting compared to their prerecorded tracks.
Everyone wants to see their favorite artists perform live. Give them this unique experience by providing tickets to a local show. Just make sure to pick an artist that’s universally loved, so whoever earns the reward is sure to enjoy it.
Whether it’s learning yoga or learning horseback riding, mastering a new skill or routine is always satisfying. It keeps the mind and body active while also providing an escape from their work. And if they learn something new that they can apply to work, it only makes them better at their job. Provide tickets or subscriptions to learning experiences that are relevant to your workers’ jobs or improve your employees’ morale. You could also hand out surveys to find out the kind of training or lesson they want to have access to.
A Chance to Give Back
There are also employees that would like to have a chance to volunteer or give back to certain communities and causes, but don’t have the resources to do so. You could give them different charitable choices, like giving a cheque to their chosen cause in their name or an all-expense-paid mission trip to volunteer in environmental conservation projects.
You already provide money to employees with their paychecks. So, when it comes to rewards, cash isn’t as exciting or meaningful. If you want them to feel happy about their incentives, give them experiential rewards like the suggestions mentioned here. Your workers are sure to come back to work refreshed and happy from the wonderful experience they’ve earned.