Incentives Don’t Work! [Video]

by: Nichole Gunn November 4, 2020

When discussing the human psychology behind motivation, it's not uncommon to encounter the school of thought insisting “incentives don’t work.”

Having spent over 25 years studying, building, and managing incentive programs, our team here at Incentive Solutions would have to disagree with that statement.

That being said, it’s important to understand why we disagree before jumping to conclusions.

Life offers very few guarantees. Combine that with inexperience and human error, and of course the incentives don’t work. The reality is that most experienced incentive program providers build programs out of multiple moving parts. Logically, when a program fails to gain traction or provide a positive ROI, there are many reasons why the program could have lost its way.

Today we are going to explore the impact of a poorly executed incentive strategy. And after the video, make sure to keep scrolling for a summary and analysis of the video’s message!

When Incentives Don’t Work: The Video

Jenny is part of the sales team at her company. She recently closed on a major deal, described as “the biggest client” the company has ever had, and citing Jenny as the reason for the sales team’s ability to meet their sales objective for the year. Shout out to Jenny for her stellar work!

Jenny’s boss decides to take a stab at recognizing Jenny for her stellar work. Contrary to what most sales team members can earn in terms of bonuses and rewards, Jenny was gifted:

  • A $10 gift card for coffee;
  • A certificate with her name on it; and
  • An unofficial naming of the bathroom hallway after her.

Compared to an awesome travel reward option, or honestly any other reward option, these incentives were pretty minimal. Judging by the way she packed up her desk and stormed out of the office, it was clear that the incentives in this instance did not work.

Good Incentives Do Work: The Video, Part II

Luckily, viewers get to see Jenny in an alternate universe live out a happier ending. In the second half of the video, Jenny works for a company with a pretty robust sales incentive program. Within the same day that Jenny closes her deal, her boss awards her points for use in an online rewards catalog. Not only does she state that she “loves her job,” she’s inspired to sell more products in hope of earning enough points for big ticket items, such as a TV, a new car, or travel to Hawaii.

With the combination of instant recognition and a variety of highly desirable reward options, it’s hard to argue here that incentives don’t work.

So...Do Incentives Work?

Again- enough with the blanket statements! We will not succumb!

But if we absolutely had to answer…the answer is yes. And if you need more proof, feel free to check out this case study…or this case study.  This one too.

Even better? We are happy to tell you why in one of our free consultations.

Call us, we're nice!

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About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.