« Salary Ranges Must Die ... and be Reborn | Main | 77 Cents and Gender Discrimination: The Wrong Conclusion »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Can’t totally agree that most of the evidence for non-cash incentives is anecdotal.

Granted, I’ve been out of the incentive consulting trade for some years now, but I can attest that I’ve attended more conferences where firm hard financial justification was supplied subsequent to successful gainsharing and other non-cash incentive programs than I’ve ever seen for cash compensation award programs. Maybe nobody is sharing those "soft" incentive success stories any more.

It would not surprise me to discover that modern productivity improvement program providers are restricting their proofs to the top management tier rather than addressing the “mere” HR and compensation folk. Since most of us don’t talk the language of the executive suite, it is only natural that vendors of truly effective incentive programs want to show their hands to the final decision makers.

Also, please remember that what is rewarded tends to be repeated, and there are as many perverse incentive stories dealing with non-cash reinforcements as with cash programs. Without cash being involved, people still do plenty of stupid things for fame, glory, status, recognition, etc.

Thanks for weighing in, Jim. You're absolutely right that there's plenty of evidence in favor of non-cash incentives, although not all companies are willing to share their 'secret sauce.' But I was thinking more about the fact that you can look up a 'safe' answer for what a senior developer in Madison should be earning, whereas with non-cash incentives - even with the success stories - you still have to feel your way.

Also, great point about all the non-monetary reasons people do crazy things!

As more and more companies scale back employee numbers, yet require heavier workloads for those who remain, we are hopeful that companies who truly want to keep their employees engaged seek the resources of incentive experts. Incentive houses (the best ones) can advise and assist in determining a complete plan that truly fits, in full partnership with HR. Sure, they can go at it on their own, and hope for the best. But where will they be when they realize it’s not enough?

In full disclosure, we supply retail gift cards to many types of incentive programs. From Fortune 500 to small businesses, we continue to see the incentive industry grow. The tools may change (gift cards, cash, merchandise, experiences), but the need is consistantly there.

Thank you for reading and commenting, Kim. Great point that when it comes to executing specialized incentives programs such as gift cards, companies are unlikely to have that expertise in house.

The comments to this entry are closed.