The idea of individual travel incentives might sound overly complicated or, worse, impossible to implement in your company.
But in truth, it's pretty simple. It can be highly effective at creating engaged employees, which leads to positive outcomes for everyone involved: increased employee loyalty, decreased turnover rates, higher job satisfaction, lower stress levels, and more productive employees.
In this article, we'll go over how to use individual travel incentives to create engaged employees—which will make everyone happier in the long run!
For decades, US companies have given out gift cards and other rewards for employee recognition. However, recent data indicate that these incentives are losing their appeal among millennials.
According to a 2015 Towers Watson study, just 37% of millennials preferred cash or gift cards as a reward compared with 62% of employees overall.
Companies must adapt their programs to stay competitive in today's marketplace—especially among millennial workers who will soon make up 75% of most workplaces.
Individual travel incentives are one example of how firms can stay ahead by providing more meaningful awards to recognize employees' contributions and efforts.
A great place to start is to reward employee performance and offer greater flexibility when choosing rewards. More than ever before, rewards need to be personalized and customized.
Millennials are increasingly demanding greater levels of personalization from brands they interact with daily—from retail shopping experiences to mobile app design and marketing campaigns.
They want brands to understand them on an individual level to get what they always wanted.
One-way organizations do that through personalized rewards and recognition programs (which also help build stronger teams).
By giving employees access to online portals where they can see real-time information about themselves, including detailed reports on progress toward their goals, employers demonstrate that they value each person's individuality and care about meeting their needs and increasing employee engagement across the board.
Consider rewarding employees for even the smallest successes to get started with a rewards and recognition program.
For example, if an employee makes an extra effort on a project that increases revenue or decreases costs, reward them with a $10–$20 gift card.
These types of small rewards are what experts call micro rewards—small incentives that can go a long way toward creating engaged employees.
Acknowledge milestones: Reward employees for reaching major milestones in their careers—or at least provide some feedback about their progress on your yearly performance reviews.
This will help them feel recognized and give you insight into how they are doing.
It's also a good idea to reward employees who contribute to your company culture. This might be as simple as sending out thank-you cards or having lunch with each other once a month.
Recognize hard work: Even if you don't have enough budget for rewards, it's still important to recognize hard work when you see it. If someone goes beyond a project, let them know how much you appreciate it!
You could do so by having lunch together or taking some time out of your day to write up an email thanking them for their efforts.
Rewards and recognition programs are an effective way for employers to reinforce desirable behavior and offer incentives for employees who do a good job.
Reward employee achievements with individual travel incentives.
This can be free flights or upgrades, waived baggage fees, airport lounge passes, food vouchers, and similar perks.
Consider creative rewards: Some companies award non-traditional rewards - like discounts on rental cars or accommodation at holiday properties that their employees will value and appreciate – as much as more traditional gift certificates for fine dining or luxury shopping sprees.
Remember that it's often about what you want them to take away from your business trip that counts - The key is making sure there's a clear link between what they achieve on business trips and benefits they receive through company travel schemes.
Don't forget to thank them when they return - Make sure employees get a pat on the back when returning from an important trip.
A quick email thanking them for all their hard work goes a long way to reinforce how valuable they are to your organization.
It also helps keep everyone focused on delivering great results every time they go out of town.
These programs are great for creating an engaged and motivated workforce.
You can motivate employees through travel incentives: giving travel rewards or using trips as employee recognition tools.
Most companies use individual travel incentive programs for both purposes, but a few companies that want to emphasize rewards choose one approach over another.
When deciding which type of program is best for your company, consider Reward-based programs:
Reward-based programs offer rewards such as gift cards, cash bonuses, or extra time off to employees who reach specific goals related to sales volume, customer service scores, or other metrics.
A reward-based program may be beneficial if you have high turnover rates among entry-level workers—younger workers may appreciate rewards more than older workers do—or if you have lots of seasonal staff members who work only during peak seasons (for example, summer). An added benefit of reward-based travel incentive programs is that they help build loyalty among current employees—which means they're less likely to leave when someone else offers them a job.
Recognition-based programs: Recognition-based programs recognize employees reaching certain milestones with rewards such as gift cards, cash bonuses, or extra time off. For example, a company might reward employees who reach five years of employment with a trip to Hawaii.
If you decide on a recognition-based program, it aligns with your business goals and values. If possible, tie rewards to specific accomplishments so that every employee understands what it takes to earn them.
Many companies may see reward programs as a cost that they don't want to spend money on, especially in a down economy.
But your employees are key players in your company's success, and when you use them effectively, it will be reflected in the company's overall bottom line.
Using reward programs is an affordable way for employers to encourage employee engagement and personal development and improve performance.
A personal touch can go a long way toward achieving these goals. Asking employees for their opinions about how a program could be better tailored towards their needs is much more effective than simply implementing your thoughts on what would work best.
With input from your staff, you can create a program that encourages productivity and fosters camaraderie among coworkers.
This will help motivate everyone to do their best because they know that others have their back. And who doesn't like rewards?
Giving out small tokens of appreciation is another great way to show employees how important they are to your business. After all, happy employees' equal happy customers!