Technology, Global Awareness Essential for Successful Global Incentive Programs
By Deborah Vence
Q: What are the best ways to run a global incentive program?
Marlene Johnson: The most efficient way to operate a global incentive program is with a technology platform that provides a centralized solution that translates globally, but is personalized at the local level. By that I mean the platform is offered in the local language, supported by local currencies, awards are locally relevant and distributed at the local level.
Peter W. Hart: One of the best ways to run a global incentive program is to not make it a "one off," but make it part of your company's culture. By integrating it with your company's vision, mission and values, your employees will see this as a long-term program vs. one with a short shelf life. I have always believed that your external message to your customers/clients needs to also mirror the internal message to your employees. After all, they are your "brand" to the communities and clients they serve.
Derek Irvine: One of the keys to successfully administering these types of programs is first to understand the difference between incentive and recognition. While many think these two are one and the same, the comparison is not apples to apples.
Incentive programs are contests usually limited to a specific group or unit within a company—most often held in sales departments—in which employees are vying against one another to "win" a prize. By contrast, recognition programs are ongoing efforts designed to motivate the vast majority of employees by encouraging them to do their jobs in a way that is directly tied to a company's long-term goals and values.
The confusion between incentives and recognition arises because, while recognition can include a reward, it is not about the "prize." Recognition is about the "praise"—encouraging, acknowledging and appreciating desired behaviors. This is a critical difference to understand by any company desiring to influence employee behavior without stifling innovation, action and creativity.
Regardless of the type of program—incentive or recognition—you need to have an infrastructure in place to manage and track the program from executive buy-in to internal communication to program measurement. When employees are engaged, there is a dramatic benefit to the company bottom line.