Incentive Rewards Play Big Role in Boosting Productivity

A recent report by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company warns that the U.S. economy faces long-term problems ahead because our rate of productivity is slowing down.


The heartening news in the report, “Rekindling U.S. Productivity for a New Era, “ is that the authors also pointed to employee recognition and rewards as one major catalyst for boosting productivity.


“Business leaders need to embrace change and champion transformation to return productivity to historical levels, and that includes boosting morale levels and addressing workforce shortages,” the writers suggest.



According to McKinsey researchers, business leaders need to prepare “for the future war for talent” by working to become employers of first choice.


Besides having a strong employee rewards program, other strategies include rethinking hiring to reduce the focus on credentials and instead value experience; investing in on-the-job training and rotation programs that build a deep talent bench; and expanding policies dealing with childcare, elder care, and parental leave, all with the goal to retain top talent.


Another endorsement that favors rewards and recognition as part of improving productivity comes from HR advisors Inspirus. Their recent employee engagement report stresses the need for recognition and rewards throughout a career lifecycle – from onboarding, through talent development, as a key to retaining top performers.


With onboarding, Inspirus says, many organizations put tons of effort into engaging with candidates and new hires, and rightly so. However, many employers are seeing elevated levels of attrition during the first 90 days of onboarding, so it’s crucial to use that time to align new hires with your company values. Recognition is an effective way to do that in the first 90 days. Ultimately, it’s never too early to recognize your people.


As for talent development, it may sound too simple, but one of the best ways to boost retention is to give people reasons to stay. For many employees, growth opportunities are at the top of that list. In McLean & Company’s 2023 HR Trends Report, 78% of respondents indicated they are providing internal training and development opportunities. This means employers who don’t offer professional development are the outliers and will struggle more to attract and retain talent.


In terms of retaining talent, the feeling of being disconnected from the culture and their peers is the top reason employees who work for remote and hybrid companies give for leaving, according to a survey from Airspeed.


Providing appropriate rewards and recognition and encouraging employee engagement are essential to retaining high-performing talent, which is doubly important when there are challenges to finding good people to hire in the first place. Building trust through open communication and prioritizing workforce well-being can also help improve engagement, reducing turnover and the high costs associated with it.


At All Star Incentive Marketing we firmly believe rewards programs are a proven, powerful tool for increasing productivity in the workplace. Studies conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation have shown incentive programs can increase performance by as much as 44%. And with increased competition to hire and retain a motivated, educated workforce, having a competitive and comprehensive rewards process in place fuels productivity as well.

In economic terms, the multiplier effect refers to the proportional increase or decrease in final income that results from an injection or withdrawal of capital. In terms of Safety Reward Programs, the multiplier effect might refer to the ROI² (Return on Incentive Investment). A properly structured program significantly impacts overall employee engagement and safety culture, where employees are attuned to safety-related issues, inspired to display “Above & Beyond” safe behaviors, willing to be safety ambassadors, and encouraged to promote learning and support continuous improvement. Such best-in-class programs are designed to promote group objectives and reward individual behavior, engaging, motivating, and rewarding the people behind your success.

Fortunately, there are thousands of companies in high-risk industries that have excellent safety programming, training, and coaching in place. Many include safety in their list of core values and have invested heavily in EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) technology, training, telematics, and personnel. However, too many miss the opportunity to incentivize and recognize individual safety contributions, behaviors, and performance.

Programs featuring tangible and experiential awards as the reward currency can have a multiplying effect that pays dividends. Benefits include a more highly engaged workforce, fewer accidents and incidents, reduced claims and losses, lower turnover and absenteeism, better communication, increased productivity, visibility to leading and lagging indicators, incremental coaching and training opportunities, and improved profitability.

So, what’s the rub? Are engagement programs focused on employee safety, health, and wellness expensive to implement? Do they only make sense for companies with thousands of safety-sensitive workers? The answer to both questions is no. Properly structured programs can be cost-effective and right-sized for companies with as few as 100 safety-sensitive workers up to those with 10,000 or more. The ROI² of these programs can be expressed as a ratio (in this case, 4:1), with quantitative results showing a savings of $4.00 for every $1.00 invested and qualitative results revealing higher employee morale, which serves as a catalyst for productivity. Safety Reward Programs help to mitigate risk, elevate employee engagement, and improve overall safety culture. They also present an excellent opportunity for companies to simply say thank you to their employees for being safe, committed, and engaged.

People have an inherent need to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed. Safety Reward Programs provide the stimulus and energy that encourage employees to perform at their best and achieve new heights.

Brian Galonek


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like