Why market leaders look beyond monetary rewards to incentivize employees

By in Incentive + Group Travel, Thought Pieces

Over the last decade the global economy has changed; GDP increased 67% and with it the size and number of businesses. The current climate is fast! With the market saturated, companies have had to stay on their toes or risk falling behind and there have been many casualties; Woolworths, Polaroid, Alta Vista, Kodak, Blockbuster, Borders…the list goes on. It’s never been more important to attract the best talent to stay dynamic and adaptable.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics estimates the average worker in the US changes job every 4.4 years with millennials having between 15-20 jobs over the course of their lives. The question is: how are the market leaders able to attract and retain employees with the growing number of job options now available? One of the most notable responses has been a shift away from the traditional forms of reward and recognition programs. The jobs site careerbliss.com has stated big salaries, light workloads, and countless vacation days does not necessarily produce happy employees.

Monetary incentives, particularly bonuses, have always received a heavy weighting in preference. For the employee it’s a gift both quantifiable and comparable. For the employer it links to individual performance, significantly easier and less costly than organising alternative incentive packages. However monetary based rewards no longer remain the sole method of incentivising. Google consistently ranks as one of the top employers. Their employees are offered more perquisites than just a fat paycheck; gourmet food, massages, office dogs…to name a few!

With the increase in career choice, people now have the option to not just work on what interests them but to be part of an organisation they feel cares about them. So how do organisations that are inherently focused on financial return demonstrate this level of caring?

“It’s the thought that counts”

The same reason why all gifts don’t come in envelopes. The presents that have the biggest impact are the ones we did not expect, choose or even contemplate. This is because a great gift requires thought; both time and effort must be spent thinking about the recipient in order to come up with the idea. Where bonuses can come to be expected the real bonuses that resonate are the unexpected ones, making employees feel valuable and cared about, where the company has gone out of its way instead of just signing a calculated cheque.

John Lewis is an iconic example of a business that looks after their employees providing both opportunities and experiential incentives. During a time where high street retailers have struggled to compete with the online shopping boom the company’s success is nothing short of remarkable. Customer surveys highlighted that the shopping experience, stock selection and reliability of the brand have all contributed to this. These factors base around the employees who not only work towards but care about the success of the business.

In a time where human capital is vital for business development, companies have gone outside realms of clinical monetary rewards.  Incentives around experiences that people don’t usually expect or are able to do in their usual day to day life are now an integral part of how top companies can care for their employees; creating an environment people want to be part of and for which they will go the extra mile.

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