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Why cash incentives are not a winner.

Written by: Andrew Clark
(View Author Bio)

Why do tangible rewards matter? Picture the most exciting shopping experience you could ever imagine. I am guessing you didn’t imagine a pile of cash.

Even though your employees may say they want cash, it’s actually not the best for boosting staff motivation and morale and here’s why:

Rewards Efficacy Continuum

The cash end of the Rewards and Experience Efficacy Continuum above is more quantitative and financial in nature. It puts people into a calculative mode and the reward begs the question, “Is this a good deal?” Because of this, cash is less effective at getting results. Whereas travel or tickets to a show or luxury merchandise are more emotional in nature and the question becomes, “Do I want it?”

The farther away from the dollar sign, the more effective the rewards become at changing behaviour. We also know through our study in applied behavioural economics that human behaviour is triggered by emotion, in fact, its 77 percent of the time. 

Keep in mind that a certificate to a spa has very different motivational qualities than a gift card for gasoline. Can you imagine one of your employees filling up their tank with gas and thinking, “I am SO glad my company is covering my next tank of gas?”

“Money, as it turns out, is very often the most expensive way to motivate people.”

Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational

When incorporating rewards in your overall compensation mix you know you need to inspire top performance and significant results. You also need to get the best return on your investment. The trick: offer tangible, aspirational rewards your participants will think about. Talk about. And want to re-live, over and over again.

We are proud to introduce an unbeatable collection of cool products, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and our proprietary travel engine. Brands that fit every lifestyle, destinations that are only dreamed of and experiences that’ll be raved about. Visit our Experiences Marketplace to learn more.

Trust us – you’ve never rewarded employees and customers like this before.

Inspire with EXPERIENCES.

Andrew Clark

Andrew Clark

President, BI WORLDWIDE Canada

As President of BI WORLDWIDE Canada, Andrew's primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and recognition solutions that change the behaviours of employees and achieve measurable results. Andrew is an evangelist for the principles of behavioural economics which are at the core of what BI WORLDWIDE Canada does.

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