Incentive Rewards: The Power to Choose

Gift cards, merchandise, travel, prepaid cards, cash? With so many incentive rewards to choose from, how do you pick the right option for your audience? In today’s world, we have created a consumer mentality with the right to “power of choice.” Why not also give the power to choose to your recipients?

Psychologist World states:

“The option to choose is something that we no longer just value but now expect – it is a prerequisite to all democratic institutions that people are given the option to choose between two or more candidates or ideas.”

Confused about incentive rewards

How to Choose an Incentive Reward

If our recipients have an intrinsic need for choice, how do you as the rewards provider narrow down the best options for them to choose?

  1. Ask who the reward is for and the desired goals of the incentive. Knowing your audience and the desired goals will help to narrow down the best two to three options that most motivate your recipient.
  2. Understand your options. Cash vs. non-cash? Remember that cash is not always king and many times recipients view the cash as compensation, not as a recognition or reward. This is particularly the case in a sales environment when base pay and commissions are standard.
  3. Know your non-cash reward type options. In today’s world of reward and recognition, the most common reward types are travel, merchandise, gift cards and prepaid cards.
  4. Understand the pros and cons of each reward type and how that relates to your intended audience. For example, merchandise is an excellent option for its ease of online shopping and the significant trophy value it brings from the company who provided the experience. However, some possible cons are for those recipients who like to feel, see as well as compare products at retail stores. Fear not! Conquering step one can help you think about these pros and cons and quickly decide the best reward options for your intended recipient.

Cheering for incentive rewards

Motivations of Non-Cash Rewards

Remember, that no matter the types of non-cash rewards you choose, you are providing a tangible benefit that no monetary incentive can provide. Per the “The Benefits of Tangible Non-Monetary Incentives,” you are creating four key motivations through your varied options of non-cash rewards.

  1. Evaluability– creating a day-dream value that allows that participant’s reaction to the award to outweigh its actual value.
  2. Separability– creates an opportunity to not weigh the reward as compensation so they can be adjusted and start and end at different times since they are not considered part of the recipient’s regular pay.
  3. Justifiability– since the reward is not cash you create a guilt-free experience for the participant to savor their gift instead of using a cash compensation towards a practical need.
  4. Social Reinforcement– The reward creates a trophy value. Making it socially acceptable to share with your friends as a symbol of achievement versus bragging about a large bonus or salary increase.

For these tips and more, check out Spear One’s Complete How-To Guide to a Perfect Incentive Program.


Meredith May

Author Meredith May

Program Manager | Expertise is incentive training program execution, on-site meeting logistics and creating a ‘wow’ customer experience.

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