The Missing Piece of your Reward and Incentive Program

– an online company store

Five people in a group, excited and high fiving.

Let’s face it – we’re all motivated by different factors. Some of us find joy and value in doing something simply for the sake of learning and take great pride in our accomplishments (yes, we see you Duolingo aficionados!) Others of us feel most accomplished when we’ve reached a tangible goal like earning a promotion at work or finally dethroning another family member from their Scrabble-winning streak.

These intrinsic (personally rewarding) and extrinsic (externally rewarding) motivators are a very real part of human nature, and different situations call for different types of motivation. In an era where we’re experiencing an ever-increasing remote workforce, it can be particularly challenging to find ways to keep your employees engaged and motivated when many are not experiencing the same company touchpoints as they would at the workplace.

Research suggests that finding ways to reward and recognize employee performance with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators can have a positive effect on overall morale, job satisfaction, and employee engagement¹. One effective way to set up a recurring pathway to engagement and success is by creating an incentive program that is tied to your online company store. What’s more, not only will you be rewarding and encouraging positive behavior, but you’ll also be building brand loyalty and affinity along the way.

Why a company store

Ask almost anyone, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a person who can resist some good company swag. It’s fun and can make just about any employee feel a bit more connected to the mission and values of your company.

As a mechanism for improving workplace performance, rewarding employees with company-branded apparel, promotional products, and merchandise is also a win-win for your organization.

Not only does your employee feel valued and appreciated when they earn an opportunity to select something from your company eStore, as an organization you are also expanding your brand and reach every time an employee wears their embroidered hat or logoed sweatshirt.

From a behavioral perspective, there’s also interesting research to suggest that tangible rewards, such as those that can be purchased or earned via an eStore, have a greater effect in terms of motivating workplace performance as compared to cash rewards.

A closer look at the science behind tangible rewards versus cash rewards

It’s fair to say no one is going to outright turn down a cash incentive if offered one, but in terms of its motivational impact compared to a non-cash reward, it can hardly compete. Why? Well, at the most basic level, it’s because we’re human, and while cash is useful and practical, it does not offer the same emotional connection that a tangible reward can.

Imagine you earn a $100 cash bonus that gets tacked on to your next paycheck. If you blink, you might not even notice that it’s there and just use it to pay your bills. On the other hand, say you earn $100 in company-branded merchandise and walk away with a new, tastefully embroidered jacket from your company store. When you put it on, you might even feel a little extra spring in your step as you walk out the door and into the workplace. Numerous studies have been conducted on behavior economics and why we perform the way we do when confronted with extrinsic motivators like cash or non-cash rewards. A major theme that emerges is that our motivation is sustained when tangible rewards are involved².

There is an emotional element to earning something you can touch and see – something that lasts and may even feel slightly frivolous were you to buy it with your own money. Having earned it, however, you now have a story to tell, a moment to feel proud, and an ongoing reminder of the value you provide to your teammates and employer.

Employee recognition for a digital world

Developing an effective rewards and incentive program is an important pillar of any business model and workplace culture regardless of your industry or size. A survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management and consulting firm Globoforce found that at least 80 percent of organizations have some type of employee recognition program in place³.

One reason that number is so high? Because recognition works. Plain and simple.

No one is going to keep putting in the hard work it takes to successfully do their job if their efforts go unnoticed and their work is not validated or valued. If you want to motivate your employees, show them how much you appreciate them, and keep them engaged and productive while you’re at it.

Important considerations when establishing your recognition program through the company store

As you work to build out an employee recognition program that will meet your goals and objectives in the digital world, establishing an online company store can be a cost-effective way to supplement your recognition efforts. In doing so, consider some of these important factors when selecting and setting up your company eStore:

  • Enable ease-of-use – While your employees may be digitally savvy, don’t expect them to have the patience or persistence to muddle through a convoluted company store web experience. We all know what that feels like, and it’s no fun. If your company store’s user interface is complicated and cumbersome, you may end up frustrating employees.
    If your company store’s user interface is complicated and cumbersome, you may end up frustrating employees. Set up a company store that simplifies the e-commerce experience and enables your employees to easily understand what they’ve earned and how to efficiently navigate the site to find and redeem for what they really want.
  • Develop an e-commerce system for rewarding employees – Points, coupons, gift cards – how are you going to set up your e-commerce system so employees can redeem their earned awards? Your company store partner can offer flexibility in terms of how you want to build out your eStore and enable quick and easy purchase order fulfillment.
  • Consider your product selection – Your employees are diverse and so are their needs and tastes. Ensure that you have the right mix of products, sizes, and price-points to meet the interest and demands of your employee and customer population. When setting up your store consider who will be using it, what will they be using it for, and your overall goals for the company store. Quality also matters, so selecting a partner that can offer name-branded goods and apparel is important.
  • Automate communication – You know the feeling you get when you make a purchase and then start to wonder whether the purchase even went through? Yes, we’ve certainly been there – compulsively hitting refresh on our email as we wait, wait, wait for our confirmation to come through only to have it never arrive. No one likes to be left in limbo wondering if their order went through or whether it is lost in the interwebs. Partner with your promotional products distributor to ensure that there is a clear path to purchase and simple, straightforward communication every step of the way.
  • Promote your recognition program and online store – You’ll be hard pressed to get any visitors to your store if they don’t know about it or can’t find it. Develop a workable marketing plan to promote the program and encourage ongoing engagement. An active rewards and incentive program for your employees is a good place to start when it comes to encouraging ongoing interaction with your store.

Establishing an online company store can be an effective component of your overall employee recognition and engagement strategy. When employees are rewarded for their efforts, they’re more likely to continue giving their best, which means increased productivity as well as happier and more engaged employees for you.

Now on to you

One way to establish an ongoing and successful employee rewards and recognition program is to pair it with an incentives-based redemption model via an online company store. At Foxtrot Marketing Group, we help you reward and recognize your employees by enabling them to redeem their hard-earned awards for company-branded merchandise and other promotional products. We offer a streamlined online shopping solution to put your employees in the driver’s seat and create more engaged employees and brand fans along the way.

If you have questions about how to improve your promotional products program or become more in step with your employees, we’d love to help you. Contact us today to get started and learn more about how we can help you elevate your brand and boost your employee recognition program.