How Can Incentive Awards Programs Transform Your Company?

Whether you’re CEO or head of HR, you may be wondering why an incentive awards program is a vital component of your company’s plan. 

Employee engagement is essential, as disengaged employees can be disruptive to a company’s core business. And workers can become disengaged for many reasons, one of which includes workers feeling underappreciated or undervalued—but this can easily be remedied with incentives or an employee recognition program.

Celebrating the success of your employees is a valued motivator. It is an excellent way to get workers excited, inspiring them to engage and focus on helping the company achieve its goals. If you have disengaged employees, an incentive awards program might be the answer. 

Whether or not to create a plan comes down to three questions:

  1. Do you want to attract top talent?
  2. Do you want to nurture employee loyalty?
  3. Do you want to see your business grow faster?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, keep reading. 

How to Create an Incentive Program for Employees

Practicing employee recognition by implementing an incentive program can transform the outcome and the outlook in the workplace. 75% of employees who receive monthly recognition feel satisfied with their job. And companies using incentive programs that align with employee needs achieve a 79% success rate in reaching their established goals. 

The right reward program can make all the difference.

Unfortunately, many organizations are behind in their endeavors to offer innovative alternatives to outdated incentives, like annual bonuses. Today’s generation of younger workers increasingly demands creative and unique reward packages that offer recognition, flexibility, and personalized incentives. 

As such, current employee recognition programs must do more to meet these demands. Understanding the value of incentive awards is the first step, and you can begin by learning how to create such programs. 

You need an employee rewards program that will show your appreciation from day 1 to year 25. But it’s not just about showing appreciation. You want to develop an awards program that is effective. 

This means creating a program that rewards employees with recognition and awards that they genuinely appreciate and find meaningful. And to do this, keep best practices in mind. You know your business and your employees best, so do what works best for them.  

Whether you are developing a new employee recognition program or looking to upgrade an existing program that isn’t working for your employees, you can create a program that is effective and successful by following these easy steps:

  1. Align your incentives with your company’s objectives.
    What is your company’s vision and mission? What work do you want employees to value as they contribute to your vision and mission? That is the work you want to incentivize.

    Recognition and incentive programs are most effective when aligned with a company’s mission, vision, values, and goals. Your employees will be able to tell whether or not there is a clear connection between what you say is important and what is actually rewarded in the workplace.

  2. Commit to sufficiently funding your program.
    An incentive program should not be a luxury or a “nice to have.” It needs to be accounted for as a necessity when it comes to your budget, which means there needs to be a commitment to resources.

     When you budget for the years ahead, earmark funds for the program and establish methods for distributing the funds to departments, divisions, or subsidiaries. You must dedicate the resources and enable employees and supervisors to run the program, which includes taking the time to plan and execute the program.

  3. Reward the work of your employees consistently and frequently.
    One key to a great employee rewards program is making sure incentives are reachable on a regular basis to keep the momentum going. Ensure there are little and big incentives at exactly the right time.

    Rewards should be delivered as close as possible to the time of the desired behavior. Recognizing employees in real time is considered better practice than waiting for a specific day when all rewards are given.

  4. Give your employees options.
    Your employees and what motivates them is not a one-size-fits-all model. So why would your incentives be? Find out what interests the people in your company and make sure your options match what will engage them.

    Employees today are looking for more personalized rewards. Highly talented and skilled workers want customized experiences rather than incentives that are the same for everyone.

  5. Reward employees sincerely and thoughtfully.
    Your employees should be convinced that the recognition and rewards are in line with the degree of effort and achievement they represent. In other words, your incentive program will falter if employees feel that their work is being trivialized or even insulted by insincere gestures of appreciation or inconsequential incentives.

    The manner of delivery can also make or break your program. Awards and recognition should be presented in a heartfelt manner. For example, an employee can be more motivated by a manager’s single act of personal consideration than by a poorly delivered substantial gift.


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Employee Points Rewards Programs

Employee engagement and recognition go hand in hand. When employees are valued and appreciated for all that they do, engagement and performance soar. And when employees perform better, companies succeed.

Motivating and driving excellence should be your goal. Think of your employees as your partners in success. A well-designed points-based rewards program can play a key role in that partnership and works as the perfect vehicle to increase employee engagement.

We’re all probably part of some sort of buyer incentive program: the more you buy, the more points you earn for money back on future purchases. And we probably all have preferences when it comes to whether we spend those points or we save them for something big.

A lot of employee rewards programs run on this type of point system where employees earn points for meeting clearly spelled-out objectives that align with your company’s goals.
These points can be accumulated for larger items in the incentive program’s menu or cashed in little by little – the employee decides which way will motivate them more.

This type of incentive award program helps build solid relationships through the use of peer-to-peer and manager-to-employee recognition. It provides more opportunities for acknowledgment of excellence, from the smallest tasks to the largest accomplishments.

Examples of Employee Incentive Programs

Any incentive program, no matter which kind you choose, should revolve around employee recognition and getting your workers engaged. It must acknowledge quality work through worthwhile employee rewards.

When choosing the right program for your organization and your employees, consider the following:

  • What are the results you are looking to achieve?
  • Who are you trying to incentivize, and what motivates them?
  • Is the budget open-ended or fixed?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can choose and build the right kind of employee recognition program that takes care of your team members and enables your company to thrive. Companies that take thoughtful and strategic steps to deploy strong incentive programs tend to see a positive effect on their employees and their organizations, such as an increase in candidates during recruiting, higher retention rates, increased productivity, and greater ROI.

The following are some employee recognition program ideas that can help get you started as you consider what type of incentive awards program is best for your organization and your workers:

Performance Recognition

Where a job well done gets the recognition it deserves.

The goal of performance recognition programs is to move the needle. In other words, it’s about increasing speed, accuracy, performance, and satisfaction by recognizing a well-done job. The right performance recognition program can rev up employee engagement and motivate your staff at every level.

Points-Based Recognition

Employees earn their points and spend them as they please.

Driving excellence and motivating your staff is the goal of a points-based program. This system will motivate your employees to participate, encourage them to look for and recognize excellence in others, and challenge them to succeed.

Sales and Channel Incentives

Reaching sales goals and creating new channels for revenue growth for the company should get a special shout-out.

Sales and Channel incentive programs motivate EVERYONE to improve their performance in line with broader organizational goals. Rather than just rewarding top performers, this system works to include average performers as well, regardless of role or ability.

This type of program can also strengthen your channel relationships and better engage your partners. By leveraging sales channel incentives, you can drive a partner’s behavior and persuade your customers to act in your company’s best interests.

Safety Awards

Make following safety guidelines something to be proud of and rewarded.

Keeping your employees engaged in a safety program is essential to seeing positive results and a return on investment. When everyone is staying safe and following the rules, there are fewer mishaps, which means things run smoothly more often. And when things consistently run smoothly, productivity increases, which yields a higher ROI. So it’s important to find ways to reward employees for their safe behavior.

Service Anniversary Awards

Recognize milestones in the careers of your loyal employees by honoring them and thanking them for their service.

Traditionally, employee service award programs started at 5 years of service and would continue to award employees every five years thereafter. Today, however, great companies start recognizing their employees from day 1, throughout onboarding, on their corporate birthday, followed by a more formal recognition at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years.

During the earlier years, it is especially important to let employees know that they are valued and that you appreciate all that they do. But this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to allocate a significant amount of money to the budget.

Service awards can come in all shapes and sizes, and in many ways, it’s more about the presentations and the social recognition in front of their peers that matters. Make it a personal WOW moment.

Custom Recognition

Not everyone’s job role fits into a neat box. Make sure you are recognizing all kinds of work by customizing what you’re incentivizing.

Whether it’s a fully branded service award program, a corporate celebration, a major career achievement, or a small token of appreciation, custom recognition programs can be designed any way you like to fit your company’s needs. These programs and awards can be just as special and unique as your workers.

Holiday Programs

Mark the holiday season with incentives that will have all your employees feeling the holiday spirit.

Holiday programs are a great way to recognize and show appreciation for your staff when they potentially need it most. The holidays can be hectic and stressful, so taking the time to show your appreciation for your employees during these times can help them stay motivated.

Welcome Aboard Recognition

Don’t wait until year 10 to thank an employee for being part of the team! Recognize those going through the onboarding process, too!

Recognition from day 1 is essential for setting the tone with new employees and helping them feel welcomed. First impressions really do matter, and a quality onboarding experience can make a huge difference in how comfortable a new employee feels in their new role, which can affect retention down the road.

So it’s important to make an employee’s first few days memorable, which can be done through onboarding recognition programs. An excellent example of this is providing the new employee with a kit or a swag box on their first day, loaded with office supplies as well as some gifts or company swag so they will feel seen from day one and be more motivated to hit the ground running.

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Do Employee Incentive Programs Work?

Emphatically, yes!

But don’t take our word for it.

According to a Gallup Survey, a lack of recognition in the workplace is one of the top reasons an employee looks elsewhere for employment. Also, according to a SurveyMonkey survey, 82% of participants believed recognition was a key part of their happiness at work.

Happiness at work = More productivity and greater retention.

However, if you’ve not had success in the past with a recognition or incentive program, it’s likely because it’s outdated and needs some revamping. Many employee incentive programs today predictably follow the same tired process of simply using big vendors to deliver selected gift items—that’s it. There is nothing personal, thoughtful, special, or unique about it.

Your employees are your most valuable resource and should be recognized as such. Furthermore, the largest generation employed in the U.S. is millennials, and this generation does not respond to the same types of employee incentive programs as older generations once did.

For an employee incentive awards program to truly work today, it needs to be meaningful. It needs to show your employees that they are valued as “a part of the family.” True motivation results from genuine acknowledgment and appreciation, not just gifts from a catalog.

Workers do their best when they feel personally invested, and it’s hard to feel this way if they are not recognized and valued for their contributions. Creating a positive workplace culture is a two-way street—employees need to feel valued and employers need to know that their workers are motivated and dedicated to helping the company achieve its goals.

When it comes to an effective employee recognition program, size does matter—because one size does not fit all. If you want the program to work, you have to put the time and effort into considering the specific and unique needs and wants of your employees.

Every company and its staff has a distinct culture, so it’s important to build tailored programs that cater to your specific needs. Happy workers make for happy business owners, and happy workers come from meaningful and well-thought-out employee rewards programs.

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Employee Incentive Programs for Midsize Businesses

You don’t have to be on the Forbes list to have an enticing employee incentive program.

Midsize businesses need to work just as hard – perhaps harder – to generate employee recognition program ideas that work for your particular needs. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that middle-market companies show attracting and retaining talent as their top challenge. This concern far outweighs concerns about supply chain interruption or rising costs.

Properly motivating and incentivizing your workforce can be the thing that sets you apart from your biggest competitors.

But how can you implement incentives that actually work?

If the recent COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that employees are all too happy to find work elsewhere if they aren’t appreciated—especially at mid-sized companies. When you don’t have the budget that some of these bigger companies have, it’s understandable that you might have to make tough decisions about what to spend money on. But employee appreciation and rewards should not be the thing that gets passed on.

After the pandemic, many companies struggled to convince their employees to come back to work. Why? Because there wasn’t enough incentive.

After time away from work, many employees realized the importance of being valued and appreciated for their hard work. Unfortunately, many smaller, mid-size companies struggled to entice these employees to return to work due to a lack of enticing incentives and a lack of recognition programs.

In a recent survey conducted by Robin, 30% of employees gave their employers a failing grade regarding the effort put into incentivizing them to return to work.

Micah Remley, CEO of Robin, said that “the findings of the survey confirmed many of the things we expected to be true of employees today—that workers enjoy going into the office when they have something to gain from the trip.”

Additionally, Remley noted that too many companies are focused on “freebies” as incentives as opposed to things that are more meaningful to the employee.

In other words, small, traditional type perks are not enough. Companies need to find ways to provide more meaningful employee incentives and recognition programs if they want to truly motivate them and help them feel personally invested in the company.

And again, this doesn’t mean you have to allocate a significant amount to the program budget. Mid-size companies can provide meaningful incentive awards programs that are just as effective as their bigger competitors without blowing the budget.

It’s not just about expensive gifts from a catalog; it’s about personalized, thoughtful incentives that cater to the unique needs of your staff and how you present them. Many employee rewards programs can be customized today to meet your organization’s individual needs, including considerations for a smaller budget.

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Who is CoreCentive?

At CoreCentive, it’s our mission to provide you and your employees with creative and innovative employee incentive program solutions that meet your company goals and engage your unique employees.

We feel that the entire recognition process needs disruption – and that’s just what we’re here to provide. To date, hundreds of companies have joined us in our recognition revolution by keeping one simple motto in mind: It’s about your employees.

We are challenging the status quo one employee recognition program at a time. Our programs give you the power to motivate and inspire. You need a program that disrupts the norm and grabs your employees’ attention—and we have the answer.

We work with companies big and small to make an incentive awards program an integral part of your talent management plan by providing:

Better Program Design

Our team works with you to design an employee recognition and incentive awards program tailored to your specific organization’s needs and budget. We help you provide personalized rewards and incentives that work for your unique team members to drive engagement.

Better Rewards

We offer seven reward program choices, which can be utilized separately or together—providing you with more options and more opportunities for your employees to see their achievements recognized.

Better Communication

We are big believers in clear and open communication, so our communication center stays in touch and keeps your audience informed about all the programs and opportunities available to them, including what is expected of them and how they can participate and earn rewards.

Better Feedback

We use survey tools to get the inside scoop on what your employees at all levels are thinking, giving you the opportunity to improve and develop where needed. By gaining more insight this way, you can develop new ideas that drive change, improvement, and innovation.

Better Insights

There’s no need for a degree in decoding to understand our reports. Everything is straightforward and easy to understand. With just three clicks, you can determine levels of engagement, awards issues, and so much more.

Better Technology

Our platforms work seamlessly, allowing your managers and employees to access the data they need easily from any type of device. Managers can track performance metrics, and employees can get recognized—all independently without HR needing to get involved.

Better Budget Controls

With our budget integrity program, you can control and assign budgets per manager or department, ensuring everything is going to the right place and that your dollars are maximizing your return on investment.

Better Options

We have numerous program options available, or we can work with you to custom-develop a new one. From custom presentation pieces designed with your employees in mind to safety incentive programs that reward in real-time, we’ve got you covered.

Better Service and Support

We do recognition better than anyone else in the industry—period. Our customers love us, and we love them back. 


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What Employee Recognition and Award Programs Does CoreCentive Offers?

No matter what your company’s specific needs are, we can help you create an incentive award program that works just the way you want it to. Our revolutionary recognition platforms incorporate more ways to reward your employees than any other.

Two key differences make us stand out from the rest of the competition:

  1. We offer transparent pricing on our services. No more guessing what you’re paying for. You will know exactly where your money is being spent.
  2. Our award solution presents are ALL offered at market price. We pass everything through with no additional margin.

Furthermore, our technology platforms work exceptionally well. Our customer service department works tirelessly to ensure that when we set up your program—it works.
We constantly push ourselves to do more and do better to provide our customers with the highest quality service. That’s why we have the highest retention rate in the industry.
Still not convinced? Take a look at this list of benefits that come from offering top-tier employee recognition and incentive programs:

  • More employees striving for excellence
  • Higher employee retention rates
  • Driving more business with metrics tracking
  • More peer-to-peer opportunities
  • Overall happier employees
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher ROI

If you’re ready to join the revolution, check out our list of services:

Performance Recognition

You must engage your employees in working toward common goals to make your company successful. Incentivize them by providing recognition for a job well done.

Points-Based Recognition 

A well-designed points-based incentive system is a perfect way to drive employee recognition and engagement.

Sales and Channel Incentives

Create sales and channel incentives to motivate the few and drive the entire team.

Safety Awards

Safety may not be at the top of everyone’s priority list, but it needs to be. With incentive programs designed to promote safety, CoreCentive can help you prioritize it for the entire team.

Service Anniversary Awards

High rates of turnover hurt everyone on the team. That’s why creating Service Anniversary Awards that celebrate tenure and loyalty, which is also the easiest employee recognition program to implement, is proven to decrease employee turnover.

Custom Recognition

Incentives aren’t one-size-fits-all. Stop treating them like such by creating a custom recognition program that speaks directly to the employees on your team.

Holiday Programs

Whether you want branded or unbranded gifts, ordering holiday gifts through us for your employees is personalized and simple.

Welcome Aboard Recognition

Make an employee’s experience with your company great from day one, with options to recognize employees who are joining your team and welcome them aboard.

CoreCentive can help you find the best recognition solution that fits your company, your employees, and your budget.

Contact us today to discuss the perfect recognition solution for your goals.