Do Incentives Change Employee Behavior?

At the heart of every successful business are people.  And it’s the behavior (or performance) of your employees which determines how successful your business is. So, do incentives change employee behavior?  We believe so, but what achieves that effect is the right incentives.  Let’s read more about how the magic happens when you apply a program offering smart, targeted incentives.

There’s Simply No Question

A recent study by a leading incentives research group revealed that structured incentives were responsible for an almost 30% increase in productivity in companies who deployed them. That’s an incredible ROI and one which should turn your head if you’re in the process of taking a decision about employee incentives.  When your program is aligned with corporate goals which acknowledge productivity gains as key, it’s clear they’re a winning strategy.

Addressing Negative Behaviors

Employee absenteeism and de-motivation are two of the behaviors which can be most damaging to your organization.  Both are like viruses.  They can impact the performance of other team members by infecting them. People tend to believe what they see and when employees around them are continually calling in sick, or spending the day surfing the internet, they see a culture in need of help.  Employee behavior like this can bring down the morale of entire departments. Addressing negative behaviors starts in HR, but it’s at the Executive tier that decisions about things like incentives take place.  HR professionals are called upon to advise those in the corner suite well before absenteeism and de-motivation reach critical mass. That advice can form the basis for an effective incentive program that addresses culturally damaging behaviors by rewarding productivity, positive contributions and being there when needed.

Participation Trophies

We need to be perfectly clear on this point:  the reason you’re rewarding employees has a direct impact on how they respond. If you’re rewarding employees for doing their jobs, you’re taking the wrong approach.  Employees who anticipate rewards for showing up aren’t motivated to do more than what’s expressly expected.  As in school, participation trophies are an empty acknowledgment that a rear end has sat in a chair.  They have little impact.

Behavioral Policy

Good fences make good neighbors.  So, what do your company’s behavioral fences look like?  Your policy concerning problems like absenteeism, de-motivation, drifting from cubicle to cubicle or hanging out in the break room need to be clearly defined and communicated.  Without policies that all staff is aware of, you’re doing your employees and your company a disservice.

Rewarding Excellence and Consistency

As we’ve stated above, incentives do change employee behavior, by boosting productivity and engagement.  Without stooping to the level of hand-holding, creating a program which directly lets employees know that excellence and consistency will be rewarded leaves no room for doubt. A quality incentive program clarifies what you need from employees by demonstrating that when you get what you need, there’s a reward worth reaching for. At Incentive Travel Group, we design incentive programs that ignite employee desire to reach higher.  Contact us and let us help you unlock your employees’ excellence.

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Case Studies

Boosting Retention Rates
Providing Sales Incentives
Building Employee Teamwork
Improving Employee Recognition


  • Evan Polin
    Sandler Training

    "I've been working with Bruce and his team on two projects and they've been great to work with. Bruce has helped us set up a referral/incentive program for us to roll out with our clients and strategic partners. Bruce was great to work with. He's set up a 7 tier program that allows for flexibility and he's also helped us to market the program."

  • Kevin O'Keefe
    Vice President World Wide Sales, Maginatics, Inc.

    "Beverly arranged and managed the early Envivio Sales incentive trips for us. Each of our events was an outstanding and motivating experience Our Sales team appreciated the attention to detail and to fun. Qualifying for the "trip" was a motivating factor behind many end of year sales pushes. I will use Beverly again in the future."

  • Mickey Poorman
    Laird Technologies

    "Peak Performance’s attention to detail and personal service made me feel like I had a true corporate meeting planning partner that I could rely on throughout the planning process right up until I was on site. I look forward to doing more meetings with them."

  • Marco Lopez
    C& J Energy Services, Inc

    "I have used your services two years in a row and you all have made my vacation a great one. You have the most helpful and considerate employees. Always very friendly, respectful and willing to make my travel experience a good one. Thank you and keep up the great job."

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