Even teams that are doing well can always stand to do better. A surge of emotional investment and motivation can inspire your team to surpass current performance levels. When you’re able to connect team members emotionally to their jobs, they have much more influential reasons to do well. Taking pride in performance and being a valued team member are incredibly gratifying, beyond the mere satisfaction of receiving a paycheck. You don’t have to sit around waiting for your team to take that initiative themselves—a reward program helps you show them the way.


In this article, we will examine three methods of motivating and rewarding your team, then tell you how a reward program can help with those methods.

  1. Set the Right Goals. In order to motivate any team, you must first decide what your goals are. Broad goals like “increase sales” aren’t very effective motivators because they’re general and constant; employees already know you want to increase sales. They perform better when they have a more specific idea of how you want them to reach their goal—pushing 15% more products to contractors in the next quarter, for instance. Effective goals are challenging enough to be rewarding when they’re achieved, but not so lofty that they’re unattainable, which results in discouragement.How an Incentive Program HelpsIncentive companies like Incentive Solutions provide multi-functional reward program options. Among them is a Performance Tracking module that allows you to create new sales promotions as often as you like, implementing specific, targeted objectives. With this module, you can operate a rewards system that stays agile and adaptable. You can run a quarterly sales challenge open to your entire sales team, if you like, or run a one-time, annual promotion with an incentive travel reward given to the top performer.
  2. Align Goals with Rewards. Once you know what your goals are, you can begin thinking about how you want to reward employees for meeting those goals. What kind of system do you want to use? Do you want to reward with monetary bonuses every quarter based on performance? Do you want to recognize excellent performers verbally whenever they succeed?

Rewards should be proportional to the work employees did for you. The way you reward your team is a statement in itself about your appreciation. If you give all your employees the same reward at the same time every year and nothing else, for instance, you’re sending the message that you don’t recognize their individual efforts.


A successful reward system should recognize two types of desirable employee actions:

  • Performance
    Performance rewards are based on the degree to which an employee is accomplishing what’s in his or her job description. They may be landing lots of sales, receiving glowing customer support reviews, or completing well-done projects at warp speed. Great performance usually speaks for itself.
  • Behavior
    Behavior rewards are more nuanced and subjective. Maybe you want to reward someone for following established sales protocol, even if they didn’t close the sale. You might want to reward employees for venturing outside their job description to help co-workers. Rewarding behavior is a great opportunity to reinforce the work style you want your employees to have.

How an Incentive Program Helps

Online rewards programs allow you to reward an array of employee (or business partner) actions, including both performance and behavior. The previously-mentioned Performance Tracking helps you keep performance goals visible through the kinds of promotions you run. You can also use a Leader Board module to display promotion ranking and keep sales competitions exciting.

Beyond sales and promotion rewards, Incentive Solutions also offers modules like Quick Points, which places emphasis on rewarding employee behavior. Quick Points are certificates that company leaders can sign and give to employees whenever they spot behavior that deserves recognition. Employees can then redeem their points for items in a reward catalog that features millions of merchandise, travel, and event ticket choices.

You can also encourage positivity and supportive behavior among your employees with the Total Recognition Suite. This module consists of a social media wall—similar to Facebook—users can post on to recognize each other for hard work, impressive performances, and helpful collaboration. With the Total Recognition Suite, you can emphasize teamwork and solidarity among peers, behavior that goes beyond just being the top performer.

An online reward program allows you to define your organization’s success. The flexibility and diversity of the modular system, in particular, gives you a range of options in increasing employee motivation and productivity with rewards. When you align your reward system with your unique company or departmental goals, you can reinforce the performances and behaviors that are most valued in your organization.

  • Offer the Right Rewards. Now that you’ve figured out what your goals are and how to reward your teams, the next question is: What rewards should you reward them with? What do your team members like? Which “carrots” are most effective when dangled in front of them?

 Generally, there are three types of  incentive rewards:

Cash is the age-old, tried-and-true, classic form of reward. No one hates extra money, right? Bonus checks and debit cards are great for SPIFs or short-term sales promotions. Cash is flexible and accepted everywhere, which often makes it seem like the best reward choice.

Non-cash rewards include merchandise items, incentive travel, courtside season passes, company T-shirts—any object or event you can reward your team with. Many customer loyalty programs are based on rewarding customers with their products after accumulating points. That same strategy works well for rewarding your hard-working team members and business partners.


Prestige, bragging rights, appreciation—these are all part of the emotional reward employees feel from recognition rewards. You might recognize employees by putting their names up on a wall, by singling them out during meetings for their efforts. Recognition is a way of thanking employees, reminding them that you appreciate their dedication and that your success comes from their hard work.


So which of these rewards should you offer to your teams? The best answer is: all three. With all three options available, you can offer every employee the type of reward that suits him or her best.

How an Incentive Program Helps

It’s great to have a selection of cash, non-cash, and recognition rewards, but the most important of these are non-cash rewards like merchandise, travel, and ticketed events. Cash is a popular incentive because of its universal appeal, but it isn’t always the most effective reward. When you’re able to trade in universal appeal for personal or emotional appeal, you can garner much greater motivation. Cash may be king, but it can’t compare to the personal and emotional effect that non-cash rewards have. According to Incentive Research Foundation’s findings, non-cash rewards like merchandise and travel have more power and influence over people.

Incentive Solutions’ online catalog offers non-cash rewards. Similar to online stores like Overstock and Amazon, the catalog carries millions of merchandise items in over a dozen departments, including electronics, movies, home and garden, and sporting goods. With diverse options, all participants can find something that holds personal value to them. An extensive online reward catalog lets program users choose the reward that most motivates them, and who knows better than they do?

Often, it’s hard to figure out where to start when you set out to motivate and reward your teams. You have to begin with a solid foundation of specific organizational and team goals, make sure your rewards are aligned with those goals, and offer the right kind of rewards. Online incentive program software can help you achieve these things with:

  • Flexible features that can accommodate and promote your goals
  • Modules that can reward both performance and behavior by tracking participants’ performance, rewarding desirable behavior on the spot, and encouraging peer-to-peer recognition
  • An online catalog offering non-cash rewards, taking advantage of the greater motivational power these rewards have over cash

When you have a sophisticated reward system to help you master the goal-incentive process, your motivated team will thrive.


SteveSteve Damerow
CEO of The Incentive Solutions Group of companies:

Incentive Solutions

Sales Hotline: (800)-844-5000

<strong>About </strong>Steve Damerow

About Steve Damerow

Steve Damerow is the Founder of Incentive Solutions, an incentive program provider in Atlanta specializing in helping B2B companies increase distribution channel sales, establish customer loyalty and retention, and develop long-lasting channel partnerships.
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