Feature Article - March/April 2011

Globe Trotters

Crossing Boundaries with Your Incentives & Rewards

By Rick Dandes

In today's competitive and increasingly interconnected worldwide economy—one in which customers and employees can access the same information in real time—approaching incentive programming in holistic, globally consistent ways makes better sense than ever.

Here's why: Around the globe, the current economic climate, although improving, has had a profound impact on business results. Reduced margins, increased competition and lower, more cautious levels of consumer spending have forced companies to get serious about cutting costs, and the implications for human resource management and compensation planning are significant.

One of the primary drivers behind the increased globalization of incentive programming is the evolution of technology, explained Michelle Smith, vice president of business development for O.C. Tanner, an international business consulting and marketing group with world headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Today," she said, "affordable incentive program software packages can be translated into multiple languages with the simple click of a mouse. Organizations can oversee these packages from a central headquarters, and customize them easily, on a regional basis. This is versus the globally decentralized models that have so often been used in the past."

Companies can do all this while ensuring that the unique tendencies and practices of individual countries are reflected in programs conceived in New York, Silicon Valley or even Davos, Switzerland.

"In this way, an organization can maintain control over macro strategy and approaches, but the literal execution can be tweaked as appropriate by region and country," Smith added.