Employee EngagementRecognition & Rewards

The Baker’s Dozen -Recognition

The Top 13 providers of employee recognition outsourcing.

by HROT Staff

This is our second year offering a Baker’s Dozen of employee recognition and incentive outsourcing providers. Traditionally, incentive providers were limited to delivering corporate awards, fitness and wellness rewards, food and entertainment compensation, retail gifts, or travel awards. But in the past three years, we have seen a transformation in the full-service employee recognition market, with providers offering so much more.

Listed here are the top 13 providers who offer the entire package of employee recognition—plan design, staff motivation, performance tracking, rewards distribution, and recognition goals. End-to-end providers work with HR clients in identifying objectives, pinpointing which employees deserve recognition, developing programs, coordinating communication, selecting and delivering incentive packages, promoting programs, distributing awards, and completing evaluations, just to name a few.

As employee turnover becomes a major issue, a well-defined employee recognition program can stop the bleeding. Employees want to feel appreciated, and the right incentive program can do just that.

This special section also includes user feedback from HR executives who have seen success with outsourcing their recognition programs, case studies that focus on establishing an incentive program for a global giant and using incentives to promote workplace safety, and an in-depth look at why cash is not always the best gift.

Methodology: This list was developed by contacting 30 of the largest recognition providers and requesting the following information: number of employees rewarded under full-service programs in 2005, estimates on the number of placements their top 10 to 15 competitors executed in 2005, and a ranking of their top 10 to15 competitors by number of placements. Because of the amorphous definition for full-service employee recognition, we felt a ranking would be a unfair comparison. Instead, the 13 providers are listed in alphabetical order with a description of services they offer.

* Number provided by the vendor.


* Employees Incented (2005): 163,480

Anderson Performance Improvement designs and implements behavior-based incentive and recognition programs that include analysis, measurement, communications, training, reinforcement, and rewards. It works with clients to determine goals and then identify the specific behaviors that help meet them. This process involves reviewing key data and interviewing top company performers.

Client(s): Serving clients from the telecommunication, pharmaceutical, insurance, manufacturing, and banking industries.

Services Offered: Discretionary award tools to recognize employees at every level of the organization, including peer-to-peer recognition; scratch-and-win combines printed cards and online redemption of rewards; knowledge-validation system; and learn-and-earn online quizzes harness the power of knowledge and accelerate success.

Most Important Metrics:
Revenue, productivity, product sales, employee and customer satisfaction, first-pass resolution, product referrals, safety, and loss time prevention.

* Employees Incented (2005): 125,000 plus

With 100 years of service, Bennett Brothers provides product and full-service program administration for employee recognition awards, prizes, holiday gifts, and productivity incentives. Its popular incentive solution, Choose-Your-Gift gift program, lets employers reward associates with brand-name merchandise, including electronics, appliances, cameras, watches, jewelry, sporting goods, and more.

Client(s): Aflac, Bally’s Atlantic City, BP, Caesars Entertainment, FTD.com, Hooters, New Balance, Twin Spires Club

Services Offered: Choose-your-gift with 14 prize levels, customizable rewards catalogs, online redemption, rewards web sites, and redemption reporting.

Most Important Metrics: Motivation metrics: measurement—creating goals and point structure, tracking accountability; technology—online program with virtual access anytime; responsiveness—online programs provide adaptability; and communication—metrics site to communicate goals and expectations.

* Employees Incented (2005): N/A

GiftCertificates.com is a provider of results-based reward and recognition programs for corporate customers including HR, sales, marketing, and corporate gifting groups. The company’s universally appealing reward, the SuperCertificate, can be redeemed for hundreds of original merchant certificates, including national and local retailers, travel services, popular restaurants, and others.

Client(s): 30,000 corporate clients, most with more than 500 employees

Services Offered: Program strategy, technology tools—web-based tools to gather info, measure effectiveness, etc.; program administration—dedicated account managers and a customer resource center; communication services—a branch of marketing department which offers templates or customized pieces to help clients communicate their programs; universal rewards—more than 200 merchant gift cards or the SuperCertificate reward; and expert fulfillment.

Most Important Metrics: Reduction in turnover, increased efficiencies, lower accident rates, increase in sales, and increase in marketing ROI or response rates.

* Employees Incented (2005): 1.2 million

Founded in 1999, Globoforce is a provider of worldwide, on-demand incentive, reward, and recognition programs for Global 2000 companies. With a flexible and efficient recognition tool that can be scaled from one to millions of users, global companies have a powerful and secure solution to implement and manage their company- or division-wide rewards and incentive programs. Globoforce coordinates the purchasing and stocking of gift certificates from thousands of merchants. Based on J2EE architecture, Globoforce has built a flexible, efficient, and powerful web-based incentive tool. Globoforce offers locally relevant rewards to all participants across the globe with innovative multi-language, multi-currency offering.

Client(s): Dow Chemical, IBM, Reuters, SAP, Safeway

Services Offered: On-demand incentive solution offers a single platform for managing and implementing rewards and incentive programs; online reporting and workflow capabilities; self-built fulfillment software controls and coordinates the movement of gift certificate rewards worldwide; and technology features including super-user dash-boards, online order tracking, single-user sign (SSO), and data flow and integration between payroll systems such as Peoplesoft and SAP.

Most Important Metrics:
Level of participation stats at all levels, user feedback surveys of supervisors and staff, and productivity increases vs. dollars spent.

* Employees Incented (2005): 3,500,000

Since 1997, IncentOne has provided integrated incentive solutions to clients ranging from small businesses to the Fortune 1000, including half of the Fortune 50. IncentOne’s solutions combine its proven incentive platform with the industry’s most comprehensive reward portfolio and best practices to provide companies with a tool to drive business objectives.

Client(s): ADP, AutoDesk, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Capital One, MGM, Motorola, NBC, the United States Postal Service, Washington Mutual, WebMD

Services Offered: Manage activities, processes, real-time tracking and reporting; guidance on optimal program design, execution, and improvement; customized awards that can be personalized; branded experience where all touch points are client-branded for administrators, managers, and recipients; self-administration; and services to effectively implement, support, communicate, analyze, and improve results. Types of programs supported include employee recognition, peer-to-peer, on the spot, years of service, employee suggestions, health and wellness, safety and compliance, process improvement, training and e-learning, call center and customer service, marketing and sales incentives, holiday gifts and special events, and cash awards management.

Most Important Metrics: ROI, sales revenues, participation rates, productivity, morale, absenteeism, turnover, employee engagement, acquisition and retention rates, and cost reductions.

* Employees Incented (2005): Approximately 1 million

Maritz Inc. helps companies achieve their goals by understanding, developing, and motivating people—employees, sales partners, and customers. Maritz provides full-service reward and recognition solutions, learning solutions, communications, incentive initiatives, meetings and event management, travel management services, market and customer research, and customer loyalty programs. The St. Louis-based provider has key offices in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, and Spain. Maritz’s global catalog and partnerships with incentive providers around the world enable delivery of reward and recognition globally.

Client(s): More than 400 clients including Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Nissan, and Wells Fargo.

Services Offered:
Program assessment and design; communications; tracking and reporting; analysis; project management and complete awards fulfillment, including an online and print awards catalog, stored-value award cards, and group and individual travel awards; and integration with learning solutions, business meetings, employee and customer research, and loyalty programs.

Most Important Metrics:
Unit sales, percent of objective attained, enrollment, participation, cost savings, ideas submitted, and employee survey results.

* Employees Incented (2005): 145,000

Marketing Innovators International is a full-service, performance-improvement company providing customized program design, creative communications, program management, tracking, evaluation, and award fulfillment. Marketing Innovators develops rules, program structure, promotional campaigns, and program budgets as well as offer complete administrative and communications support essential to the success of any program. The Rosemont, IL-based provider delivers custom programming as well as turnkey systems to clients. By streamlining process functions, clients can focus on the larger picture—objectives, people, and results.

Client(s): HP, HSBC, T-Mobile

Services Offered:
Employee programs: training, referral, productivity, safety, recognition, attendance, cost reduction, suggestion, and customer satisfaction. Services include: program assessment and consulting, program communications (web, flash, print, and dimensionals), program training and reinforcement, recognition element (design and delivery), online technology, and program measurement, and ROI. Award options: catalog lifestyle merchandise, gift certificates, reloadable debit cards, group travel, business theater, meetings support and logistics, individual travel, and award connection.

Most Important Metrics: Participation, tie back to mission/vision/value statements, attendance, safety, and operational improvement.

* Employees Incented (2005): More than 1 million

2005 marked Michael C. Fina’s 70th anniversary in providing corporations with gifts and awards. As a family-owned and -operated business since 1935, Michael C. Fina offers cost-effective, state-of-the-art recognition solutions to multinational corporations, with a strict focus on world-class customer service. Michael C. Fina, headquartered in New York, is one of the fastest growing employee recognition company in North America. Many Fortune 500 companies rely on Michael C. Fina’s dedication to perfecting the way employee recognition programs are implemented.

Client(s): Citigroup, IBM, UPS

Services Offered: Design, implementation, and measurement of all types of employee recognition programs including peer-to-peer nominations, anniversary awards, retirement, safety, and other incentives.

Most Important Metrics: Participant satisfaction, redemption rate, and on-time delivery.

* Employees Incented (2005): 900,000

Since 1912, Rideau has helped clients optimize their people, performance, and profits. It is one of the leading sources in North America for managed solutions for service awards, performance awards, corporate merchandise, and customer loyalty programs. Rideau offers customized online solutions backed by exciting brand product merchandising and state-of-the-art product fulfillment. Rideau also offers a complete suite of offline recognition solutions for clients, customers, and employees.

Client(s): Boeing. Ceridian, Harris Bank, Lucent, Owens & Minor, RBC Financial Group

Services Offered: Service-award programs, points-based programs to recognize daily employee behaviors and activities that lead to achievement, incentive and performance programs, corporate merchandise and company store programs, and cash award management programs

Most Important Metrics: Improved retention and decreased turnover, improved performance and employee engagement, improved customer satisfaction, and improved profitability and shareholder value.

* Employees Incented (2005): more than 200,000

Springbok Services has provided incentive and award program services to more than 4,000 companies including more than 100 of the Fortune 500. Springbok provides custom co-branded prepaid MasterCard programs for use with virtually any employee incentive and award program. In addition, Springbok offers a web -based Reward Incentive Management System (RIMS), providing modules for managing scheduled award programs, incentive points programs, and peer-to-peer recognition programs fully automating all servicing components enhancing participation and streamlining program administration.

Client(s): Applied Materials, Boise Cascade, Brinks Home Security, Cascade, Exxon Mobil, GMAC Insurance, International Paper, Nissan, Pepsi Bottling Group, State Farm, and Toyota.

Services Offered: Custom co-branded, prepaid MasterCards, web-based reward and incentive management system, and program management services.

Most Important Metrics: Sales and revenue goals, safety and workman’s comp claims/expense, employee participation in health and wellness programs and corresponding insurance premium expense, and customer satisfaction.

* Employees Incented (2005): 450,000

Since 1918, Terryberry has helped businesses develop and implement custom recognition incentive award systems. Working with more than 25,000 organizations worldwide, Terryberry provides lapel pins, award rings, watches as well as more than 1,000 other personalized awards. Terryberry’s popular recognition e-program, www.awardchoice.com, takes recognition online for award selection and eased administration.


Services Offered: Service award programs, recognition system design and implementation, online award programs, toll-free award selection service, performance-based programs, and presentation training.

Most Important Metrics: Employee engagement, length of service, sales increases, productivity, and alignment.

* Employees Incented (2005): Approximately 1 million

The Tharpe Company offers total recognition solutions for challenging motivational needs. With a unique strategy that offers a flexible approach to the daily reinforcement of a client’s mission, vision, and values, individuals are rewarded based on achieving multiple initiatives. All programs offer an electronic ordering and reporting system designed to achieve measurable results.

Client(s): Many of the Fortune 1000.

Services Offered:
Total recognition solutions for service and performance-based incentive programs.

Most Important Metrics: Measurable ROI process, participation rates, response rates, employee engagement, customer/employee satisfaction, budget integrity, and employee retention and turnover.

* Employees Incented (2005): 750,000

Workstream offers market-leading security (SAS 70 certified) and is Sarbanes-Oxley compliant. The rewards product line includes award-winning solutions designed to motivate and retain top employees, offered with full consulting support. The applications support incentive, recognition, and work-life programs. These programs can be integrated with Workstream’s compensation, performance, and development applications through its talent-center application suite to align employees with strategy. Workstream is partnered with Excellerate HRO.

Client(s): Workstream has more than 400 Fortune 2000 clients including Chevron, Liberty Mutual, and L’Oreal.

Services Offered:
Research; strategy development; software (online workflows for points/certificates/approvals/budget management, participant account management, and real-time reporting and redemption process management); hosting; technical consulting (integration); and communication design/execution.

Most Important Metrics:
Metrics include satisfaction, utilization, and business impact (sales, service levels, etc) with increasing focus on ROI evaluation.

Tags: Employee Engagement, Recognition & Rewards

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