Hi.  I’m Colin Higgins, President and Owner of Performance Enhancement Incentives.  We’re a boutique meeting and incentive company specializing in unique and inspirational travel reward programs.

Our topic today is “What Makes or Breaks a Successful Incentive Program.”

I’m going to focus on one important element – Buy-In.  In order for an incentive program to be successful, you must have buy-in by the people you are trying to motivate.  Here are four ideas on how you can ensure that a program will maximize Buy-In and inspire higher performance from your participants.

FIRST.  The award must be highly desirable and must match the achievement of the stated goals.  In other words, don’t offer dinner and a ball game and expect an extra million dollars in sales.  Knowing your participants and what drives them is critical in designing the right incentive reward program.  Buy-in surges when people are offered something they can’t normally do, or get, on their own. If you’re looking for exceptional results, you need an exceptional reward.

SECOND.    The goals you set must be specific and fixed, and perceived as achievable.  
What do I mean by “specific and fixed?”  I mean that they are based on a specific target such as “Achieve Sales of $750,000 or more” or “Increase sales by ten percent over last year.”  A goal such as “You must be in the top ten in sales volume” is a badly stated goal.  Someone may be ranked in the top ten all year long then miss the reward at the end because someone else has a last minute surge and passes them. The goal, in this case, keeps moving.

Why did I say “perceived as achievable” and not just “achievable?”  Because you want to motivate higher performance from as many of your participants as possible.  Your top performers will naturally charge at their goal and achieve it.   But if your middle performers believe they can get there too, they will pedal faster, especially if you provide extra coaching and recognition along the way. 

THIRD.   Communication.  The single thing that everyone needs and there is always too little of…

  • Communicate the value of the reward
  • Communicate the goals clearly
  • Communicate on the reward experience
  • Communicate achievements along the way
  • Communicate the results of the program.

Remember that communication is a two-way street.  So make sure you listen to feedback before, during and after the program.  Buy-in increases if your participants see you listening AND acting on their ideas and suggestions. 

FOURTH – Hire a professional.  A professional can insure that you design a reward that matches the goals, set specific and achievable goals, communicate, AND everything else you will need to maximize Buy-In and the success of your incentive program. Surveys have shown that programs conceived and operated by a professional incentive company are more effective than those done solely in-house.

For this and other ideas on how to operate a successful incentive program, visit the Resource page on our website at www.peincentives.com and download our whitepaper on “Buy-In” or other articles of interest.

Thanks and have a great day!