Feature Article - January/February 2012

Motivation Overseas

Technology, Global Awareness Essential for Successful Global Incentive Programs

By Deborah Vence

Q: How has the global economy affected the launch of new global incentive programs? Are companies holding back on such programs?

Johnson: I don't think so. If anything, I think it will challenge organizations operating independent and or sporadic programs to identify their entire "global" incentive operation and streamline those efforts for more cost savings. It is not unlikely that a person working in Asia will relocate to Europe. Or, the business person in the U.S. will relocate to Brazil. With them will go the expectation and demand for access to incentive programs that they have participated in and benefited from, whether it is a consumer program or an employee incentive program. The only way to guarantee their continued enrollment or participation is to travel with them so to speak. The natural evolution of an incentive program, as with all business, will be to meet the demands of their marketplace and develop global capabilities.

"The natural evolution of an incentive program, as with all business, will be to meet the demands of their marketplace and develop global capabilities."
— Marlene Johnson,
Hinda Incentives

Hart: Of course the global economy has impacted all companies. But companies that truly understand the value of recognition and reward programs and the impact they have on bottom-line results, such as sales and customer satisfaction, realize you cannot turn these off. They might need to be scaled back during an economic downturn, but if you turn them off, you will also turn off your employees!

Irvine: The HR Capitalist, Kris Dunn, recently posted a blog questioning if retention is easier in a down economy. A key conclusion of his was that your best performers will always have options. He cited a Leadership IQ study that reported 47 percent of high performers surveyed are actively seeking another job, but only 18 percent of low performers and 25 percent of middle performers are actively looking.

So, what does this mean for managers and HR executives? If you want to keep your "A" players, you need to give them reasons to stay. Employers cannot ignore the fact that good employees always have options to change jobs in a challenging economy. For these top performers, compensation and benefits is only part of the picture. They also need challenge, opportunity and the knowledge that they are valued for their efforts. Using a global, strategic recognition program helps organizations to recognize "A" players, but to also track and measure company-wide recognition efforts. When you then tie these results to your turnover statistics, you can begin to evaluate based on clear metrics the synchronistic effects of recognition on turnover.