Performance Management & Rewards

Workforce Performance: It’s not Polite to Eavesdrop, but Sometimes It’s Necessary

Getting the right ROI with employee recognition.

by Louise Anderson

Welcome to the office of Shannon White, the vice president of human resources. Shannon is meeting with David Moskowitz, the companys VP for sales. He wants to increase revenues right away and hes asking about incentive programs. Let’s listen in …

David: I’m under serious pressure to move my sales numbers up this quarter. I need incentives for my sales reps that will work quickly. And while were at it, I really need for the program to pay for itself. What can you do for me, Shannon?

Shannon: I think I have just what you need, David. This is always a tough assignment, but Im sure our department can help.

David: Were going to have to throw a ton of cash at these people to get them to sell harder, and I know that money talks.

Shannon: In my experience cash sometimes works-but only for the short term. Cash incentives wont necessarily accomplish what youre trying to do here, plus there are some serious downsides to cash. By using cash, you may end up paying more and only getting a slight improvement or not even getting enough improvement to pay for the incentive. I know that accelerating your sales result is a priority, so let’s pick an incentive strategy that will get results now and pays for itself.

David: Yeah, its important that we get something back for this.

Shannon: You will. Let’s talk about Return on Investment …

If this conversation has not happened in your office, it most likely will. The reason is that sales leaders are relying heavily on their HR partners for help with incentives, and HR officers are now better equipped to meet these needs. Let’s look at some research.

A survey published this year by the Incentive Foundation shows that about three-quarters of companies are placing a greater emphasis on Return on Investment (ROI) when evaluating their incentive dollars invested in productivity programs. Three-quarters of respondents feel they can build a “more exciting and memorable” program around travel or merchandise than cash. It was reported that 60 percent of employees see cash as a part of their compensation package. David and Shannon clearly are not the only ones who are looking for a way to make their incentive programs more productive.

One of the leading-edge ways of accelerating sales and efficiencies immediately and also assuring a significant ROI is by rewarding changed behaviors. The following are important steps to follow when developing a work performance program:

Identify the behaviors of the top performers (those improving the fastest) in growth, customer satisfaction, and efficiency/profit. You want the middle group of performers in your company to do what the top performers are doing.

Focus on two behaviors, such as knowledge validation or knowledge sharing, and one improved results measurement.

Reward employees for good or excellent behavior change and for improved results. 

Remember that the goal of a performance acceleration program is to copy what is already working well in your organization. The following is an example of how it can work.

A leading telecommunications company needed a sales incentive program, designed to reward a specific group of employees with prizes they could win by scoring performance points in a three-month program. Its purpose was to change behavior. Workers whose behaviors changed-as measured by tests, surveys, observation, and sales-earned merchandise and travel rewards.

The company also wanted to increase product sales by 20 percent as a result of the incentive program. To help meet its goal, 90 percent of employees passed a knowledge validation quiz to increase knowledge of products and services by 275 call center workers. Participant response was much higher than anticipated: 98.5 percent of eligible sales reps participated in at least one aspect of the program, and 84 percent earned rewards. The company reported that overall customer satisfaction scores were up decidedly. They also announced a 32.1 percent increase in sales of targeted products for the three months of the program.

The program exceeded its stated objectives because of two important factors. First, it set out to change behaviors rather than to affect only short-term action. This was accomplished largely through education, supervisor coaching, and creating benefits for the company, which as demonstrated in the results above, are much more likely to be permanent. The second factor was that, in this case, the incentives and the number of choices of awards was specifically designed to appeal to the nature and economic level of the participants.

Remember, we were looking for ROI as well as performance improvement here. Imagine what kind of return David could claim for their company if sales increased 32 percent as a result of Shannon’s work.


Louise Anderson is president and CEO of Anderson Performance Improvement Company (www.andersonperformance.com), a company that is accelerating results through the science of performance. She is also the author of Cream of the Corp., a book of practical suggestions and ingenious ways companies can get people doing things that accelerate profits NOW, available on Amazon.com and www.andersonperformance.com.

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The Lucky 13

THE TOP 13 PROVIDERS OF RECOGNITION PROGRAMS.

by Denise Doig

September is back to school time, and HRO Today has updated its lesson plan. Last years incentives resource guide has expanded into this terms Lucky 13a list of top employee recognition and workplace performance outsourcing providers. With more underclassmen entering the arena, we decided to improve on our coverage.

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Ceridian Forms Agreement With Rideau To Deliver Employee Reward And Recognition Programs

Ceridian will be first HR outsourcing company to offer comprehensive employee recognition programs

 (MINNEAPOLIS) – Sept. 1, 2005 – Ceridian (

www.myceridian.com), a leader in managed human resource management outsourcing solutions that maximize the value of people, today announced that it has formed an exclusive agreement with Rideau Recognition Solutions to deliver reward and retention programs to its clients

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Case Study: A Healthy Recgnition Program

How one company found success with IncentOne.

by HROT Staff

A major national managed healthcare service provider was in need of aprogram to recognize employees who were located in various locationsthroughout the United States. The rewards  program was for jobperformance achievements and employee length of service. The Fortune200 company required an easy to administer, Web-based program thatwould enable all participating supervisors to instantly deliver awardsand acknowledgements from their desktops to mailboxes with minimumcomplexity and overhead.  

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Buck Consultants to Provide Total Rewards Assessment for Commonwealth of Virginia

ACS Signs Significant New Business in Commonwealth of Virginia With Buck Subsidiary 

DALLAS, Aug 30, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ — Buck Consultants, an ACS company and one of the world’s leading human resource and benefits consulting firms, announced today that it has been selected by the State Corporation Commission (SCC) of the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide a total rewards assessment. Total rewards include cash compensation, employee benefits, and work/life balance programs

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Utix and PMG Launch ‘Promotainment’

Promotional Programs Will Feature Movie Studio Content, Fun Movie Graphic Collectibles and Utix Movie Tickets

BURLINGTON, Mass., Aug. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Utix Group, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: UTXG – News), the leader in prepaid gift ticket experiences, today announced in collaboration with PMG that the companies have developed an innovative, in-theatre cross-promotional campaign designed to drive consumer brand awareness to new heights for their Fortune 500 clients

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GiftCertificates.com Launches Communication Services, A Suite of Marketing Services for Corporate Clients

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SEATTLE May 25, 2005 GiftCertificates

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Duke Energy Inks HRO Contract with Hewitt

< ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy today announced that Hewitt Associates, a global human resources services firm, has been selected to provide comprehensive HR back-office administrative services to the companys U

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NY HR Week 2005 Trumps Expectations – Up 32% to 3710 Registered Attendees

HR Executives In Record Numbers Attend HR Conference —

Top Issues Include Outsourcing, Diversity, Benefits & Technology

Milford, CT,April 20, 2005 NY HR Weeks conference directors today released recordattendee totals for the 2005 NY HR Week held April 12-14, 2005 at the New YorkHilton, making it the nations second largest HR event. Registered attendeestotaled 3,710, with conference attendees numbering 706.  The totals represented a 32% increase overthe 2004 totals, and included a record 106 media attendees.

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PwC: Almost All Fast-Growth Companies Outsourcing HR Functions

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PricewaterhouseCoopers Trendsetter Barometer interviewed CEOs of 360 privately held product and service companies identified in the media as being among the fastest growing < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />U

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