The recent global recession has altered the way business organizations reward and motivate their employees. Gone are the days when a business can offer lavish rewards without seriously thinking about the repercussions of implementing an incentive program. Today, more and more organizations are trying to seek a balance between rewarding and motivating employees and results that can keep employees happy within the fold of a company. Even employees have warmed up to the idea that they are most likely to get fewer rewards. When you are considering the implementation of a travel incentive program or any other incentive scheme within your organization, you have to design it in such a way that costs are kept at bay while still engaging employees and achieving desired results. From the onset, employees should be on board with the design of the incentive scheme, allowing them to have a say in the targeted objective as well as the rewards that are waiting for them should they meet these set goals. You might think that monetary rewards work best for your employees, but they may not. Instead, they may yearn more for recognition, from both their peers and management. Equally important is the role played by managers. Many employees appreciate the efforts of their organization to recognize and reward their efforts, no matter how big or small these are. However, managers act as one of the driving forces in employee satisfaction. As such, companies too should invest in transforming managers into mentors and active employee supporters. Implementing an incentive program can either spell success or disaster. The key to a successful program often lies in making employees see the value and meaning behind the implementation of these. In short, if you wish to drive your team toward a specific behavior, their interest behind the tool (the incentive program) should be equal to that. One of the key ways to do that is to let your team come on board at the design stage of the incentive program, giving them a say on which rewards to offer and which ones resonate more with them. In summary, get your employees involved right from the start. Whether you are offering big or small rewards, managers should rally behind team members, giving them much-needed support and motivation to achieve the desired outcome. Post-recession, incentive programs can still work — but only if organizations observe thoughtful actions that make the program effective and successful.

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