The Latest Incentive Industry Resources & News

Employee Rewards: Pizza, Cash, or Compliments?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Published by: Online Rewards Employee Recognition

Is motivating your workforce as easy as buying a pizza? This HR Digest article reports that, when offered a choice between cash, pizza, and compliments from the boss, participants in this employee rewards program chose pizza. (Structuring an effective reward and recognition program is a little more complicated than that!) It’s true that, when employees are asked what they would prefer to receive in a rewards program they say cash, yet studies show that employees work harder for non-cash or more tangible incentive rewards.

An Incentive Research Foundation Trend Study outlines new uses for non-cash rewards and finds that a higher level of employee engagement is dependent on the delivery.

Employee Recognition

Does Size Matter?

In fact, it does. The IRF Participant Study of reward experience preferences found that for large corporate recognition rewards, the most preferred experience is a travel reward followed by merchandise, presented by company executives and communicated publicly.

For more frequent smaller rewards, how the reward is presented and who presents it accounts for 40% of the recipient’s view of the reward experience, regardless of the reward itself. So in this scenario, a burger or a gift card might have worked just as well as the pizza if it was presented by a boss and in public.

Incentive or Compensation?

We see from the HR Digest article that even a Wharton professor can confuse an incentive with compensation. A pay raise is compensation; anything that is given in exchange for greater effort or performance is an incentive (such as a compliment, other reward, or pizza!).

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation

The article also notes that extrinsic motivators do not have a long-lasting effect. In an effectively designed incentive program, employees often develop better processes, work habits and understanding as to how their job responsibilities fit into the overall organizational goals, resulting in a higher level of intrinsic motivation.

While pizza is not recommended as an effective long-term employee reward, we see that rewards that appeal to your audience, presented in the proper way and in front of peers, can be very effective in the short term. A professionally designed incentive program will achieve both your short- and long-term objectives for employee engagement and performance improvement.

Thinking Beyond the Annual Pay Raise

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Published by: Online Rewards Employee Recognition

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports that many companies are moving away from annual pay raises for their employees. When annual raises are given to all employees with little differentiation, they are not effective in improving performance; nor do they demonstrate that the company appreciates or even recognizes the employee’s contribution to the success of the business. Companies that understand this are considering a bonus structure based on performance. Annual raises have hovered around 3% for the last 5 years. Will shifting those dollars to bonuses for top performers make an impact?

Employee Recognition

What do you do when monetary compensation is no longer motivating?

Progressive companies understand that properly-structured customized reward and recognition programs can improve performance by an average of 22% -- and by as much as 44% when teams are rewarded. In many performance improvement programs, it’s common for top performers to be rewarded. While it’s important to reinforce those results, your top performers are likely to continue to excel because that’s what they do. Likewise, the bottom 20% of your workforce is not likely to expend additional energy no matter how much you pay them. It’s the 60% of your workforce in the middle that can produce the greatest performance gains if properly motivated. An effectively designed employee incentive, reward or recognition program will maximize performance improvement and provide the greatest gains.

Executives as well as employees consider reward and recognition programs to be valuable, but 98% believe that the programs would be more successful if properly implemented. Working with a firm that specializes in employee engagement will take all of the guesswork out of incentive program design. You’ll be sure to have a program that achieves your objectives and delivers a measurable return on investment.

Corporate incentive reward and recognition programs attract quality employees who will work harder and smarter when they are valued, recognized, and rewarded for their efforts.


Stop by before 10 am at our Cincinnati office and we'll treat you to one of the finest espressos around.

I would like to receive updates on service offerings, industry news, events and best practices from Online Rewards.



441 Vine Street
Suite 501
Cincinnati, OH 45202
ph (888) 826-0783
fx (214) 242-4448



100 North Central Expressway
Suite 1120
Richardson, TX 75080
ph (888) 826-0783
fx (214) 242-4448

Take a Tour

Interested in seeing how Online Rewards has helped clients create award winning incentive and loyalty marketing programs?

A brief tour with one of our Program Design Consultants will demonstrate how our unique approach helps clients achieve their incentive and loyalty marketing program goals.

 I would like to receive updates on service offerings, industry news, events and best practices from Online Rewards.