Recognize Reward Retain: The Three Rs of Performance Management

Keep motivating that "middle 60" to excel.
May 01, 2005

"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."

Online Management: Flexibility and Ease
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."

"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.

Flexibility and Ease Continued
"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.

"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."

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