"Today's employees desperately want to be acknowledged," says Sandy Amorde, president of Amorde Incentive Marketing in San
Juan Capistrano, California. And she's right—research suggests and experts agree that acknowledgment is high on most employees'
wish lists. "Besides acknowledgment of their contributions, employees want to feel appreciated and recognized for making a
difference and contributing, not just to their company, but to the world," she says. "What really drives people is not money."
Don Durrett, design director for the pharmaceutical/healthcare team at BI, a Minneapolis-based performance improvement company
that serves most of the top 25 pharma companies, agrees: "The common belief is that cash is going to work better. But studies
consistently show that throwing more cash at people will not change behaviors."
Online Management: Flexibility and Ease
"Tangible rewards provide lasting trophy value and ongoing goodwill toward the company program," says Paula Godar, director
of marketing communications for Maritz Incentives in St. Louis, recalling a reward recipient who admits he thinks fondly of
his company each time he drives the lawnmower he redeemed for reward points. That case illustrates how a quality merchandise
reward is a constant reminder of a job well-done from a company that cares.
Despite the apparent need for employee recognition and the fact that US organizations spend over $100 billion annually on
incentive programs, many companies still question their effectiveness. But, a recent study affirms that incentive programs
can boost performance up to 44 percent if conducted in ways that address all issues related to performance and human motivation.
Conducted by the SITE (Society for Incentive & Travel Executives) Foundation in New York, the study discovered that most organizations
lack the knowledge or will to create properly constructed programs that yield desired results. And although travel incentives
remain a mainstay in employee motivation and recognition programs, merchandise incentive programs offer competitive pharma
companies high-impact versatility.
"While many programs focus on improving general sales results, merchandise rewards go farther," explains Godar. Specifically,
these incentives can be used to drive sales of existing products at different stages of the sales cycle, for peer-to-peer
recognition, and as motivational tools for training and expanding product knowledge.
Flexibility and Ease Continued
"Merchandise reward programs can also provide sales reps with the tools they need to provide effective and up-to-date product
information to physicians," she says.
Corporate incentive and reward programs have never been easier to set up or administer, due in large part to the growing cadre
of full-service incentive companies that perform every step in the process, from the custom design of Web sites to program
administration and communications and award redemption. Web-based monitoring and administration capabilities make the process
an interactive one for both managers and participating reps. (See "Flexibility and Ease.")
The trick for companies is to know what goals they want to accomplish with a reward program, structure one that measures and
rewards the right kinds of behavior, and get employees to buy in. In pharma, the trends these days are toward highly specific
goals, flexible programs, and interaction.
Rewards for Learning
For pharma companies with new products entering the market that are looking to capture share as quickly as possible, rewards
are vital for keeping sales reps' knowledge up to date. "Today's organizations are in a perpetual high-stakes marketplace,"
says Janet North, vice president of business development at MotivAction, a Minneapolis-based marketing and performance improvement
company. "Sales forces need to be ready—and fast."