The Latest Incentive Industry Resources & News

The Impact of Modernizing Employee Recognition

The Move From Service Awards to Sophisticated Recognition and Engagement Platforms
Friday, March 30, 2018

Employee Recognition

David is employed by a major hospital that prides itself as a "Best Place To Work." At his ten-year anniversary, the employer rewarded him with the equivalent to $100 in points. This "recognition" came in the form of an email--no mention on the milestone on the company intranet, nor a recognition ceremony to celebrate David's loyalty. At an organization where one of the values is "Our people are our greatest asset," this recognition practice just simply doesn't ring true.

Service awards, if not implemented correctly, can do more harm than good. Today's workforce is shifting to a more modern approach to reward programs: programs that are tied to their company culture and drive behavior by offering incentivized rewards.

Service Awards

Eighty-seven percent of company recognition programs (a $46 billion market) are focused on tenure (years of service), according to Bersin by Deloitte, a leading research and advisory firm. Yet tenure-based reward systems--a 10-year pin, 20-year embroidered jacket, etc.--have little to no impact on organizational performance. Service awards are intended to reward employees for years of loyalty to the organization. There may be some sort of company wide recognition mentioned on the company intranet, but more times than not, they go widely unnoticed. The average tenure of today's workforce falls short of five years. Today, the average college graduate will have three to four job changes within the first 10 years of their career, thus making service awards an ineffective tool for driving positive behavior.

Shift to Culture

Shifting from service awards to spot awards can have a significant gain for the bottom line (ROI) of your organization. According to an employee engagement report done by TinyPulse, 79 percent of all employees feel undervalued due largely to a lack of recognition and appreciation. In addition to receiving recognition, this generation prefers to be able to recognize their co-workers "in the moment" as well. This drives positive business results by engaging today's workforce immediately.


Service awards have their place and can be an instrumental part to a well-rounded rewards program. It should not be the goal of the organization to reward and recognize employees for their time and loyalty without regard to their performance. At Online Rewards, we suggest increasing the frequency by which you recognize and drive behavior, celebrate milestones in the moment, and include other initiatives into your rewards program: Wellness, Employee Referrals, Career Pathing, etc. Not all recognitions have to include a monetary reward. Allowing for social recognitions increases frequency and drives incremental effort.

As the modern workforce shifts from year of service awards to sophisticated recognition and engagement platforms, it's important to keep Company values and vision in mind. Every organization has a different set of circumstances, however, the business result will always start with its people. According to, more than 80 percent of employees said they were motivated to work harder and stay at their jobs longer when they received appreciation for their work.

It's clear that recognition has a significant impact on employee engagement and retention and should be considered as part of any talent management strategy.

Bersin by Deloitte

Top Sales Incentive Ideas

Creative Ways to Improve Sales Team Performance
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

REAL Chicago

When considering a Sales Incentive Program, it's important to ask yourself, "Why?" Why are incentives necessary? What is the role of incentives? Asking why ensures that you take a deeper dive into the core of the issue and the reasons behind the solution--implementing a Sales Incentive Program.

Sales Incentive Background

Sales Incentive Programs reward top performers. They create healthy competition and a positive environment designed to help Companies achieve structured objectives. A well-designed sales incentive program will contribute directly to a Company's bottom line by driving specific sales outcomes and tying program costs to the achievement of sales outcomes.

Have Some Important Conversations

Many sales team managers have some sort of existing monetary reward system in place to encourage performance. And, while monetary compensation is often the go-to for employers, study after study shows that non-monetary compensation has more long-term success with engagement and productivity.

It is important to keep a clear line of communication regarding employees' motivation to sell a product, as well as the pressure involved with incentivizing employees. Ensure that the intent behind the incentives is acknowledgement; not the reward itself.

Get Creative With Your Incentives!

Unique, non-monetary rewards tend to add an exciting dynamic to everyday work, as well as add a personal touch to what can be an otherwise monotonous day.

Get creative with your rewards. Some sales incentive ideas include:

  • Starting with smaller, more realistic goals
  • Giving the gift of trust, time, and relaxation
  • Getting personal and helping out at home or sending a thank-you note with a small token
  • Rewarding your employees with Flip Flop Friday, PTO, or being Boss for a Day
  • Recognizing your team members directly for their excellent work
  • Implementing gamification, such as scavenger hunts, raffles, parking pass giveaways, and more!

Today's prospective employees say that company culture and recognition for their accomplishments outweigh compensation and benefits. Thus, companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by nearly 150% and a more positive workplace is a place your employees will enjoy.

A sales incentive program solution with Online Rewards features a participant dashboard, gamification, and custom catalogs with many exciting reward options, and will motivate and help retain high-performing employees. Contact Online Rewards today to learn more!


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