What Incentives Are Most Impactful During Times of Coronavirus Uncertainty?

by: Mark Herbert April 13, 2020

If ever there was a time of uncertainty in the business world, it is now. The coronavirus pandemic has created its own brand of uncertainty, forcing businesses across all industries to find remote solutions to “business as usual.” One thing is for certain: sustaining motivation and productivity in this time is going to be incredibly important. Below are the top three incentives that can help you keep spirits high and business goals in sight amidst the newfound coronavirus uncertainty.

Maintaining Motivation in the Coronavirus Uncertainty

According to a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), 53% of manufacturers expect a change in operations and 35% are facing supply chain disruptions because of the outbreak. Changes like this can result in shifting priorities and objectives in your business. Not only do you have to keep an uncertain workforce assured and motivated, you may be dealing with decreased customer demand, delivery delays, shifts in product focus, and various other changes.

In this unique time of coronavirus uncertainty, it can be difficult to facilitate employee, customer, or channel partner behaviors you rely on to thrive—especially if those behaviors deviate from the norms people are used to. Incentive programs can help you maintain and improve processes that are now more important than ever, as well as new behaviors that require commitment and cooperation.

You can get strategic with the types of incentives you offer during this time of uncertainty. Some incentives, such as group travel, are very effective but unwise or impossible to offer right now. Others are more cost-effective and suitable to the needs and concerns of today’s incentive program participants. Let’s take a look at some of these more suitable options below to combat coronavirus uncertainty.

1. Debit Card Rewards

I can't think of many things that can't be purchased with a debit card, can you? That includes groceries, gas, bills—all the necessities (even toilet paper!).

Necessities are the first thing on people’s minds during times of crisis, including how they are going to purchase them. A debit card is like having cash in pocket, and flexibility is one of the most reassuring things you can have during times of financial and organizational coronavirus uncertainties. On top of that, you can brand debit cards with your logo or company imagery to remind incentive program participants of your organization whenever they use their card on the things they need most (and if a few things necessary for self-care sneak in, such as double-stuffed Oreos, who’s to argue?).

2. Gift Card Rewards

Coronavirus uncertainty may have taken outings to restaurants off the menu, but gift card rewards are still an excellent perk to have during these times of health crisis and social isolation. They can be used at mega-stores like Kroger and Wal-Mart to stock up on necessities, or delivery services like Uber Eats to make quarantine living a little easier.

Gift cards can still retain their fun factor, too. Participants can use them to buy movies or games online, shop for clothes (update that business-comfy “work from home” look), or gift them to friends and family if their main concern is making sure their loved ones are secure and happy.

3. Merchandise Rewards

In times of economic uncertainty, spending on nice-to-have things decreases in favor of need-to-have things. And in times of coronavirus uncertainty, gathering your need-to-have things becomes even more of a challenge. What’s something that offers both? A points-based rewards programs with an online catalog of rewards. The Incentive Solutions rewards catalog, for example, has everything from home & garden items, tools and electronics to sporting goods and video games.

By providing an online catalog, participants can redeem points on practical items like vacuum cleaners, furniture or cookware, all while remaining safe and remote amidst the coronavirus uncertainty. They can also spend reward points on items of indulgence, like books and games, that they otherwise might’ve felt guilty spending their salary on.

Reducing the Effects of Coronavirus Uncertainty

We’re all wondering the same thing, these days—how big of an impact will the coronavirus epidemic have on our economy, and how can we prepare? If you’re thinking of nixing your incentive program, take a moment to consider the emotional impact of offering incentives to your partners during a time of need.  If your business can benefit from a motivated workforce, and the rewards you offer provide comfort, the effect of the coronavirus uncertainty on all parties will begin to lessen.  Even more, your participants will remember your generosity and ability to provide solutions well after the pandemic subsides.

Interested in talking incentive programs?  We are here to answer all your questions.  With over 25 years of incentive industry experience, Incentive Solutions is happily offering free consultations to businesses in this time of uncertainty.  We are stronger together.

Start your free consultation today!

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About Mark Herbert

Mark Herbert is President and CEO of Incentive Solutions. He has more than 30 years of experience overseeing business operations within the incentives industry, helping companies increase channel sales, build customer loyalty, motivate employees, and grow their business.