Employee EngagementRecognition & Rewards

The Lucky 13


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.

Many companies are realizing the importance of rewarding good performance. Getting a good conduct report is no longer enough; employees want to feel appreciated. And with an array of reward options, management can show their staff that they are valued. Not all organizations can afford bonuses or salary increases, and some employers want to distribute gifts that will be cherishednot used to pay bills.

Traditional incentive providers run the gamutfocusing solely on corporate awards, fitness and wellness, food and entertainment, retail, or travel. But full-service employee recognition and workplace performance providers offer much more. We have listed the 13 largest outsourcing providers in this field who offer the entire packageincentive plan design, staff motivation, performance tracking, and rewards and recognitionwhich combine recognition and tracking systems. End-to-end providers work with HR clients in identifying objectives, pinpointing which employees deserve recognition, creating budgets, developing programs, coordinating communications, selecting and delivering incentive packages, promoting programs, tracking employees, distributing awards, and completing project evaluations.

We contacted 25 full-service, recognition providers to gather some key data and facts about them and their major competitors, which helped to determine the final 13 (listed below in alpha order). Also included in this special section is user feedback from HR executives who have seen success with outsourcing their recognition programs, case studies that focus on workplace performance, and a look at the importance of ROI and recognition on sales.

The Lucky 13 Top Recognition Providers (listed in alphabetical order)

Bennett Brothers, Inc.

Employees Recognized (self reported): 250,000

Bennett Brothers provides employee recognition solutions for all occasions. Their Choose-Your-Gift platform, the original gift card since 1958, offers 14 gift levels at delivered costs of $20 to $1000. Bennett Brothers works with clients to understand their goals and create custom measurable online or print reward programs. Bennett Brothers has fulfilled gifts for 100 years; their mission is fair dealing, and all merchandise is 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed.

Client(s): AFLAC, Caesars Entertainment, DeVry, FTD.com, USPS.

Services: Custom Designed Online or Print Administrative Solutions, Online Redemption, On-Demand Reporting, Certificate Presentation, E-mail Notification, Private Label Fulfillment, Toll-Free Customer Service, Consolidated Billing, File Transfer Protocol, Secure Web site Hosting, and Employee Surveys.

Most Important Metrics: Program criteria data statistics (measuring results of program, i.e., performance, attendance, safety, sales) order history, manifest tracking detail, and budgetary.


Employees Recognized (self reported): 3,000,000

GiftCertificates.com is a provider of results-based incentive solutions to a wide range of corporate customers, and also provides gift certificates and gifting advice to consumer audiences. Established in 1997, the Seattle-based companys corporate sales organization works with thousands of companies of various sizes and industries to design and deliver incentive programs that motivate, reward, and drive results to achieve their clients business objectives. These programs include HR, sales, marketing, and corporate gift programs.

Client(s): 77 percent of the Fortune 100 are clients including Aetna, Expedia.com, and John Hancock.

Services: Comprehensive incentive solutions for Employee Spot Award, Safety Award, Service Award, Wellness, Training and Referral programs. The programs utilize some or all of the following customized products and services for each client: Program Strategy, Technology Tools, Program Administration, Communication Services, Universal Rewards, and Expert Fulfillment. The companys best selling consumer gift and incentive reward, the SuperCertificate, can be redeemed at GiftCertificates.com for hundreds of original merchant certificates.

Most Important Metrics: ROI, participation rate, response rate, and increase in awareness.


Employees Recognized (self reported): 95,000

Founded in 1999, Globoforce is a leading provider of worldwide, on-demand incentive, reward, and recognition programs for Global 2000 companies. Globoforce transforms the way enterprises motivate their workforces and sales channels through its dynamic, easy-to-use, on-demand technology platformempowering the most successful organizations on all continents. Globoforce is co-headquartered in Westborough, MA and Dublin, Ireland.

Client(s): Globoforce provides on-demand incentive, reward, and recognition solutions for many of todays Global 2000 companies. Recent customer wins include Avnet, Dow Chemical, Reuters, and Safeway.

Services: Comprehensive Platformmanage the nominating, issuing, reporting, and analysis of clients global awards programs; Corporate Branded Recognition Awardsboth e-mail and paper versions; Interfaceexchange of awards for gift certificates, merchandise, and travel from an unrivaled network of merchants worldwide; Self-service Reporting Tool produces real-time data downloadable for spreadsheet utilization, and monthly and quarterly metrics; Maintenance-free Systemprovides all technology maintenance, account management, end-to-end processing, and customer service; and Quality and Performance Evaluation.

Most Important Metrics: Globoforce measures client satisfaction with worldwide asset team 360 degree reviews of their experience, recording specific client feedback, monitoring worldwide customer service issues, monitoring worldwide program adoption, hosting periodic focus groups with employee participants across the globe, conducting periodic user surveys via e-mail, and reporting back to clients through a yearly and quartile review process.


Employees Recognized (self reported): 1,000,000

IncentOne is the leading provider of integrated incentive solutions, combining the rewards, systems, and knowledge to give its clients a competitive advantage to drive key business objectives. In IncentOne programs, recipients select the rewards of their choice from the most comprehensive reward portfolio from hundreds of national retailers, merchandise, travel, personal services, and phone cards. With gift certificate/cards as the cornerstone of this portfolio, recipients have the ultimate in choice regardless of their location or demographics. IncentOne combines this with systems that automate all program functions and the guidance to make its clients programs a success.

Client(s): More than 4,800 clients including more than half of the Fortune 50 including Washington Mutual, Deloitte & Touche, NBC, Capital One, ADP, Autodesk, Countrywide Financial, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Services: Rewardsthe most comprehensive reward portfolio including gift certificates/cards; Systems IncentOnes technology automates all core program functions including tracking and reporting (real-time), management of budgets, cost tracking, approvals, and payroll; and Knowledge this includes strategy, program design, and supporting services such as communications development, training, customer service, fulfillment, and packaging.

Most Important Metrics: Percentage of employees rewarded, achievement of specific business objective (client specific), percentage of compensation (budget), average award values, consistency of application across organization, and manager adoption rate. In addition, a variety of client-specific metrics are developed in partnership with clients as a part of program execution.

Maritz Inc.

Employees Recognized (self reported): 500,000

Maritz helps companies succeed by helping them understand, develop, and motivate employees and channel partners and customers. Maritz meets the needs of companies looking to increase revenue; improve customer and employee experiences; communicate with, train, and motivate employees and channel partners; and acquire and retain customers.

Client(s): Bank of America, Marriott, Xerox, GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler.

Services: Assessment, Design, Communications, System Development and Implementation, Measurement, and Award Fulfillment.

Most Important Metrics: Participation, number of recognitions given and received, budget used, and employee engagement or satisfaction as measured by surveys.

Marketing Innovators

Employees Recognized (self reported): 100,000

International, Inc. Founded in 1978, Marketing Innovators has become one of the most respected incentive/motivation companies in the industry. A $100 million full-service people performance management and measurement organization, Marketing Innovators is dedicated to helping companies inspire employees, channel partners, and customers. They drive improved business results by designing, communicating, and managing highly effective incentive, recognition, marketing, and loyalty programs for Fortune 1000 companies. Signature award platforms include gift certificates/cards, travel, debit cards, and merchandise. In addition, Marketing Innovators is also the exclusive distributor of JCPenney Gift Cards, which have been successfully utilized in business, government, and fund-raising venues.

Client(s): Hewlett-Packard, T-Mobile, HSBC, Culligan, 21st Century Insurance, State Farm, Braun.

Services: Analysis and Assessment, Program and Solution Design, Business Rules Development, Branding and Communications (all media, complete campaigns, specific elements, design, production, distribution/deployment), Technology Setup and Customization, Program Setup, Performance Tracking and Scoring Algorithms, Database Management, Reporting, Program and Budget Management, Measurement and Analysis, Testing and Surveying, Participant Service, and Award Fulfillment and Processing.

Most Important Metrics: Overall sales increases, new customer acquisition, enhanced job performance and productivity, responsive customer service, and employee satisfaction and retention.

Michael C. Fina

Employees Recognized (self reported): 1,000,000

More than 70 years of experience in designing, implementing, and measuring the worlds most innovative recognition programs for the worlds most innovative companies.

Client(s): UPS, IBM, Bank of America, Wachovia.

Services: Total Employee Recognition Programs through merchandise-based or points-based platforms for companies with a single recognition initiative or multiple initiatives.

Most Important Metrics: Program utilization, budget integrity, and participant satisfaction.

O.C. Tanner

Employees Recognized (self reported): 2,336,043

A global employee-recognition provider, O.C. Tanner produces and sells employee awards and recognition solutions to more than 8,000 corporate clients, including many of the Fortune 100. In addition to offering the latest in electronics, travel, jewelry, and sporting equipment, they are one of the few companies in the United States that produces emblematic recognition awardsfeaturing a companys logo created one at a timenearly three million a year.

Client(s): Confidential.

Services: Employee Recognition Outsourcing; Recognition Training, Consulting, and Program Design Services; Web-based Administration Programs; Print and Web Award Brochures; and Awards Fulfillment for length of service, retirement, performance, and sales and safety achievements.

Most Important Metrics: Employee satisfaction, employee retention, program usage, and customer satisfaction.


Employees Recognized (self reported): 750,000

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. They also offer a complete suite of offline recognition solutions for clients, customers, and employees.

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

Services: Service Award Programs, Points-Based Programsrecognize 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.

Terryberry Company

Employees Recognized (self reported): 425,000

Since 1918, Terryberry has helped businesses and organizations develop, implement, and maintain custom recognition award systems. Working with more than 25,000 organizations worldwide, Terryberry provides customized pins, award rings, watches, and more than 1,000 other personalized awards to motivate and recognize employees. Terryberry offers a wide selection of products and services, and implements programs that feature numerous levels of awards. Today, more than 1,000 of Terryberrys clients use their recognition e-program, AwardChoice.com, which takes recognition online for award selection and eased administration.

Client(s): Confidential.

Services: Program Design, Development, and Implementation; Presentation Training; Online Award Selection and Administration; Paper-based Programs; Toll-free Award Selection Service; Employee Data Management; Worldwide Shipping; Awards Consulting; Performance-based Programs; Systemic Award Management.

Most Important Metrics: Length of service, sales incentives performance-based programs, achievement, safety, attendance, and productivity.

The Tharpe Company

Employees Recognized (self reported): 500,000

The Tharpe Company is a provider of full-choice turn-key recognition solutions, designed with flexible options to meet specific needs. They develop employee communication and recognition strategies. Clients use these strategies to help generate the high levels of employee engagement needed for market leadership in todays business environment. Their Celebrating Milestones recognition strategy offers flexibility, innovation, Web technology and training, and customer relationship support services to help reinforce company brandinggiving more meaning to recognition programsand offer a substantial return on investment.

Client(s): ADT Security Services, Inc., Duke University, AFLAC, First Data Corporation, Bank of the West, Food Lion, Gulfstream, Carquest, ING, Inc., Circle K Stores, LabCorp, Dan River, Inc., Marvin Windows & Doors, Mitsubishi Electronics America, SuperValu, Pacific Life Insurance, Tennessee Valley Authority, R. J. Reynolds, Toro Company, Smurfit Stone Container Corporation, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., Unilever Bestfoods, Unilever, University of Southern California, The Vanguard Group Staples, Welchs.

Services: Milestone Recognition, Safety Awards, Recognition Training for line managers, Full Administration, Web-based Reporting and Ordering, Customer Service, Award Selections.

Most Important Metrics: Employee response rates, turnover rates, and employee survey scores.


Employees Recognized (self reported): 75,000

USMotivation is a full-service incentive management company focusing on performance improvement programs for employees, distributors, and customers. Its four core areas of experience and expertise are Internet incentive solutions, incentive awards, creative communications, and meeting and event management. USMotivation has been in business since 1962 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Over the past 17 years, USMotivation has earned more industry awards for excellence than any other incentive company.

Client(s): Saab USA, Southern Company, Karastan, Diebold, Ricoh, Savin, McKesson, KB Home, Southwire, Heidelberg, Caterpillar, Fuji.

Services: Program Design; Online Incentive Management; Platform Program Administration; Creative Communications; Award Selection and Fulfillment, group and individual incentive travel, merchandise awards, gift cards, debit cards, and personal concierge services; Adventures and Special Events Meeting; and Event Management.

Most Important Metrics: Increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, enhanced loyalty and relationship, reduced costs, reduced turnover, and improved safety.

Workstream (Bravanta)

Employees Recognized (self reported): 150,000

Workstream provides enterprise workforce management solutions and services that help companies manage the entire employee lifecyclefrom recruitment to retirement. Their solutions are offered on a monthly subscription basis, under a Software as a Service model that helps companies cost-effectively maximize workforce productivity, engagement, and satisfaction by applying business discipline to key people processes. In 2004, they acquired Bravanta, a provider of enterprise incentive and recognition software programs for Global 2000 companies.

Client(s): Liberty Mutual, Chevron, LOreal.

Services: Program Design, Program Communication and Training, Performance-based Certificate Programs, Points-based Incentive Programs, Select and Sendaward certificates or points online for recipients, Online Award Redemption, International Fulfillment, Online Reporting and Administration.

Most Important Metrics: Anniversary, years of service; going above and beyond exceptional performance; superior customer service; and outstanding safety record.

Tags: Engaged Workforce, HRO Today Global, Performance Management Rewards

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