Management teams have long viewed employee motivation as important, but in practice, have often treated it as secondary to their business’ bottom line. Yet a new study has found that increasing employee motivation will become a higher focus for Canadian executives in the coming year. This is translating into a renewed focus on employee incentive programs, as part of their strategy to boost company productivity and bottom line results.
These findings are the result of the "2011 Canadian Incentive Trends Survey," which polled 429 Canadian executives from marketing services organizations, incentives firms, human resources consultancies and corporations working across industries and sectors. Conducted in April 2011 by Berkeley Payment Solutions, the survey is aimed at helping executives gain insight into the views and practices of Canadian companies with respect to the corporate incentives programs they implement.
This year’s survey reveals that increasing employee motivation has become a key area of focus among Canadian companies, with a strong majority (88 percent) of survey respondents indicating this is a top management priority in the coming year. And in contrast to last year’s findings, corporate incentives are now being used for employee programs more than any other type of program—including sales and marketing programs, which were the leading uses in 2010.
Specifically, when asked how they have used incentive programs, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents said they were used for employee programs, compared to just over half (56 percent) last year. Other uses for incentive programs included sales programs (55 percent), marketing programs (50 percent), customer retention programs (25 percent), rebate programs (18 percent) and channel programs (10 percent).
When asked why they implemented incentive programs, again more than two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents cited motivating employees as the top reason. Other reasons and business objectives for the use of corporate incentives included increasing sales (62 percent), attracting new customers (41 percent), increasing customer loyalty (38 percent), supporting a product launch or promotion (34 percent) and increasing brand exposure/awareness (31 percent).
“We’ve seen an increase in demand for employee programs in the last year, as organizations look to adopt cost-effective strategies to motivate employees, improve team performance and meet business goals,” said David Eason, CEO of Berkeley Payment Solutions. “With employment rates on an upward trend, the need to attract and retain high performing employees continues to intensify. To accomplish this, more companies across the country are adopting customized employee incentive programs that are flexible, measureable and easy to adapt as business objectives shift.”
The survey affirms widespread use of incentive programs, with almost three-quarters (72 percent) of Canadian business leaders confirming that they have used corporate incentive programs as part of their business strategy. And more than half (54 percent) of these respondents felt they gained a competitive advantage over the competition as a result of these programs.
“Executives are recognizing that a motivated workforce translates into increased performance,” Eason said. “This is directly leading to a renewed commitment to incentive programs that foster relationships and strengthen employee dedication.”