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As a Lifelong Practice P3

ITA Group Rebrands, Refuels P4

Defining Trophy Value P20

“Teamwork is an Individual Skill” P22




driven M A G A Z I N E

Incentive Travel Hot Spots New Attitudes, New Latitudes

TRENDS IN RECOGNITION WorldatWork, ITA Group Study Reveals 7 Keys to

Cash vs. Non-Cash The Motivation Mystery

Recognition Success


IN EVERY ISSUE 3 FROM THE DESK OF CJ McKoy, Vice President— People & Culture 4 NEWS ITA Group Rebrands, Refuels 6 A CLOSER LOOK Cash vs. Non-Cash 20 AWARDS Defining Trophy Value 22 BOOK REVIEW “Teamwork is an Individual Skill”

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Trends in Recognition // Cover Story 7 Critical Steps to a Successful Recognition Program

FEATURES 8 SAND CASTLES TO IRELAND'S CASTLES Incentive Travel Beyond Sun and Sand 12 EVENT TECHNOLOGY Electronics Enhance the Experience 14 TRENDS IN RECOGNITION Fundamental Elements of Recognition Programs That Work 18 CASH VS. NON-CASH The Ultimate Incentive Showdown

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Sand Castles to Ireland’s Castles Popular New Event Destinations



Driven Magazine Volume 14 / Issue 1 Kent Schlawin Editor Michelle Johnson Writer Amber Baker Jennie Tischler Graphic Designers Rhiannon Taylor Jaimee Chism Contributing Writers Beth Lastine Maura Rombalski Contributing Editors

Headquarters ITA Group, Inc. 4600 Westown Parkway West Des Moines, IA 50266 Phone: 800.257.1985

Sales Offices Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Des Moines, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and the greater New York City area

? Send your questions or comments to and we may address them in the next Driven magazine.



Recognition as a Lifelong Practice MY EXPERIENCE WITH RECOGNITION DATES BACK TO CHILDHOOD, even though I wasn’t familiar with the term or the science behind it. My Dad, a small-town pastor, was an involved parent to five children. He usually tucked us in at night— read us a story or sang a song (or two) until we fell asleep. One time, we weren’t drifting off as quickly as Dad desired. He said, “Whoever falls asleep first gets a stick of gum in the morning.” (Gum was an often-used reward.) My older sibling quickly replied, “I'm sleeping— I win!” You can likely recall similar stories from your childhood. You probably motivate and recognize your own children or grandchildren the same way. Hopefully, you are experiencing these strategies in your professional life also. As a recognition leader, ITA Group knows employees who feel valued tend to take more pride in their work, have better relationships with customers and coworkers, and make a stronger commitment to the organization. That all means better results. In his article Recognition Best Practices, Bob Nelson, Ph.D. states, “Recognizing employees is one

of the most important things a manager can do to build morale and enhance performance in today’s fast-moving, competitive workplaces.” Check your corporate reward and recognition strategy against my childhood experiences. A program must: » Incent individuals who need to change behavior » Recognize those already performing » Produce measurable results » Be timely » Be easy to understand and operate If you believe, as we do at ITA Group, that people are your most important asset, find time to recognize them for good work. Seek opportunities to recognize exceptional behavior or results. Use recognition frequently. It’s not only good people management, it’s good business.

CJ McKoy Vice President of People and Culture ITA Group

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Here’s What’s Making News at ITA Group News and events impacting the industry.

ITA GROUP’S CREATIVE TEAM EARNS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION ITA Group’s creative team, Communication Solutions Group, recently earned 12 MarCom Awards to add to its collection. MarCom is an international creative competition for any individual or company involved in the concept, writing and design of print, visual, audio and web materials and programs. The competition averages more than 6,000 entries each year. The team earned six Platinum Awards, four Gold Awards and two Honorable Mentions for cross-media campaigns developed on behalf of ITA Group’s Fortune 1000 clients. “Every day, this team works to push creative limits and develop smart, edgy campaigns that educate and excite people to do their best work,” said Communication

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Solutions Group Director Maura Rombalski. “They are truly experts at igniting human potential through creativity. Their efforts help make us a leader in the performance improvement industry.” ITA GROUP MAKES CMI’S TOP 25 ITA Group’s Event Management team made the CMI Top 25, which is MeetingsNet’s annual directory of the largest and most influential meetings and incentive companies in the North American corporate market. This

is the fourth consecutive year ITA Group’s team has been recognized. CELEBRATING 50 YEARS, REBRANDING AND REFUELING FOR THE NEXT 50 This summer marked ITA Group’s 50th year creating and managing events, incentives and recognition programs. ITA Group started as a travel company in 1963. Today, more than 575 people across the country make up the company. To position the company for future success, a

sizable rebranding took place during 2013. ITA Group now has a newly designed headquarters, contemporary new logo and redesigned website. ITA Group is a proven leader in engagement, serving Fortune 1000 companies across several industries, including automotive, banking and finance, telecom, and technology. Future priorities for the company include engagement strategy research and development, program branding



JAN 31 SITE EXECUTIVE SUMMIT Punta Cana, Dominican Republic www.siteglobal. com/p/cm/ld/ fid=19recognition. org


MAR 20 LOYALTY EXPO Orlando, FL http://loyalty

MAY 19 WORLDATWORK EVOLVE 2014 CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION Dallas, TX http://www. totalrewards2014/ attendee/indexattendee.jsp


“Our company, as well as the entire industry, is founded on the fact that people are the single most powerful driver of organizational success,” said Tom Mahoney. “One of the smartest investments any company can make is tapping into the potential of people, regardless of the state of the economy. People will always be the strongest competitive edge for any business.” ITAGROUP.COM —– AN EVENT, INCENTIVE AND RECOGNITION RESOURCE ITA Group’s newly designed website——makes it easy for you to get solutions to issues affecting your business today. Things like large event planning and logistics, increasing revenue through motivated salespeople and channel partners, brand exposure and employee retention, to name a few. A new blog, case studies and compelling solution stories offer perspective and insight into removing obstacles to business success. Please visit and explore the new site. ■


and communication, technology advancements, global award strategies, and analytics.

CHARITABLE WHEELS IN MOTION A SIMPLE EMAIL was all it took to spur incentive and recognition program participants from multiple industries into action. The message encouraged people to support Red Cross relief efforts in the storm-ravaged Philippines. Within minutes, people began donating their program earnings. That single communication inspired more than $2,000 in donations in just a few days. “Companies would probably be surprised to learn just how many of their employees believe in paying it forward,” said Individual Awards Expert Kristine Forret. “ITA Group is extremely responsive to world events and tragedies affecting the global population. We offer immediate links to charitable organizations around the world in our pointsbased catalog.”

» 2013 UNITED WAY DAY OF ACTION ITA GROUP VOLUNTEERS take on Mother Nature for the 2013 United Way Day of Action.

» HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION’S COMMUNITY BUILDING PROJECT ITA GROUP TACKLED TOUGH JOBS at an Atlanta urban outreach facility as part of Home Depot Foundation’s Community Building Project. The team replaced flooring, painted, stained furniture, and powerwashed the building’s exterior!

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Cash’s Reign as King is Coming to an End Employees are quick to insist that cash is king when it comes to company incentives. But many companies are beginning to see that cash isn’t living up to the hype. Cash simply doesn’t have the impact or trophy value of a non-cash award. It often ends up in the gas tank or grocery cart, just like everyday compensation. Non-cash awards go farther when trying to drive better performance. Take a look at how participants in one ITA Group program utilize their cash awards:


BILL PAY $434.11

FAST FOOD $10.90

GAS $115.74



Amounts above reflect average purchase per transaction. Source: Awards data from 2013 for a current ITA Group client. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Getting cash deposited into my checking account to pay bills is not that motivating. I’d rather have something separate to tell me I did a great job.

– Participant survey from a current ITA Group client


NON-CASH AWARDS – TRIPLE THE IMPACT OF CASH A company would need to spend 3 times as much in cash to produce the same results as non-cash awards. – American Compensation Association ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

NON-CASH AWARDS—A POWERFUL MOTIVATOR Employees working toward a tangible award boosted their performance 24 percentage points higher than those working toward a cash award. – University of Chicago Study

NON-CASH AWARD—THE RIGHT DRIVER Non-cash reward programs were found to be 91.7% more effective for motivating employees than cash programs. – Northwestern University and University of Wisconsin Whitewater



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NON-CASH AWARDS—EXECUTIVES LOVE THEM TOO Nearly 70% of corporate executives “strongly agree” that travel and merchandise awards are more memorable than cash. – SITE Foundation

PerformanceSuite App ®

Gets a New User Interface

ITA Group’s PerformanceSuite App has a fresh new face. With help from our own experts in graphic design, IT and strategy, ITA Group visually dismantled and redesigned our app to be more user-friendly.

» A cleaner, smarter user interface means better, faster program results and adoption.

The days of digging around for performance metrics are over! Now, when your company launches an incentive through our app, participants can track their performance faster and easier. » Performance updates appear in the form of easily recognizable icons and a bold point display.

It’s fully integrated with every instance of Salesforce. No manual data entry. You can launch contests and incentives in minutes to boost sales and increase adoption.

But our app is more than just another pretty interface.

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The majestic castles of Ireland


Hot Spots!

NEW ATTITUDES. NEW LATITUDES. Not a big surprise—Mexico, Vegas, Florida, California, Arizona and Hawaii continue to dominate as top incentive travel destinations. But ITA Group experts are seeing more and more companies moving beyond sun and sand to build exceptional, memorable travel experiences. Here are just a few destinations turning heads in the incentive travel space:

Enchanting Ireland Travel and tourism are on the rise in Ireland, pushing it to the top of Fodor Travel’s “25 Places to Go in 2013.” The appeal of the Emerald Isle is flexibility—you can visit in any season. The country doesn’t draw visitors in with warm climates and beaches. Instead, charming villages, ancient castles, rolling green countryside and shimmering lakes are the pull. And let’s not forget storybook legends of leprechauns and pots of gold. Today, more than 30 million Americans claim some Irish heritage—giving Ireland the added allure for those looking to explore their roots.

Striking Gold » Ireland is the nearest European country to the U.S. (only a six-hour flight from New York), and there is easy access from major cities across North America. » English is the official language of Ireland, so there is no communication barrier. » Ireland is a mecca for golf lovers, boasting more than 350 courses and 33 percent of the world’s link courses. » The island’s compact size makes it easy to experience both cosmopolitan city and idyllic rural environments in one trip.

Anchors Aweigh Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises have long been a popular choice, as they give travelers the opportunity to venture to several locations without the hassle of multiple hotels or flights in between. But when it comes to incentive travel, some companies are taking cruising to the next level, booking private charters for a more intimate excursion on the open sea. Ocean Getaways, a luxury yacht charter company, offers sailboats, catamarans and yachts of different sizes to accommodate

couples, families and small groups. The lure of a private charter is that it allows people to experience the exclusive world of yachting and gives them access to secluded ports and harbors massive cruise ships cannot reach. That means plenty of time for relaxation, beachcombing and water sports.

Unrushed, Uncrowded, Unbelievable » Each couple or family has their own sailboat, catamaran or yacht » Total freedom—you chart your own course and decide how to spend your days » Gourmet meals, snacks and drinks are prepared by a personal chef and tailored to guests’ preferences » Fishing, snorkeling, tubing, wakeboarding, kayaking and waterskiing equipment on board

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Monstrous Mountains Outdoor adventure-driven trips in the North American Rockies are quickly gaining popularity year-round— whether riding down on two skis on a snowy morning or two wheels on a warm summer day, there’s more than one exciting way to get down a mountain. With today’s changing workforce dynamic, travelers can be a blend of old and young, even the whole family. On a mountain excursion, you’ll find a good mix of activities for all ages and the chance to get out and enjoy nature’s backyard. “Mountain destinations are gaining interest with their flexibility and multi-generational appeal,” says Chelsea Ford, ITA Group Geographic Specialist Buyer. “We are creating incredible experiences for travelers of all ages during the popular winter travel season, as well as summer and fall.” In winter, snow-filled favorites include skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, ice skating and snowmobiling. In summer and fall, whitewater rafting, hiking and biking are surefire ways to get the adrenaline pumping. Most resort towns in Colorado, Utah and throughout the Canadian Rockies boast five-star accommodations, world-class dining and upscale shopping, so you won’t exactly be roughing it.

High-Altitude Adventures » Get an eagle-eye view of the Colorado Rockies on a hot-air balloon ride over Vail Valley » Ride down the 2002 Olympic bobsled track at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City » Learn to fly fish on the Roaring Fork River in Aspen » Hike across the Columbia Icefields, including a 400-year-old glacier, in Banff » Charge through the scenic outback aboard a dogsled in Whistler » Raft down Class III rapids on the American and Truckee Rivers in Lake Tahoe

Travel Truths

A recent study found 70.7% of those surveyed said the opportunity to experience something unique—something they couldn’t do on their own—was a valuable motivator in reaching their qualification goals.

Up, up and awa


The wonders of Dubai

St. Patrick’s Day Parade The WOW Factor Sitting on the sidelines of the world’s most prestigious thoroughbred horse race. Rubbing elbows with celebrities at an internationally renowned film festival. Celebrating a spirited national holiday in the country where it all began. These are just a few of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences ITA Group has designed over the past year for clients in the automotive, technology and financial industries. Incentive programs tied to prominent events and luxury activities give participants the chance to experience something they may have thought was unattainable. And they make lifelong memories. A recent study, “Incentive Travel: The Participant’s Viewpoint,*” found 70.7% of those surveyed said the opportunity to experience something unique—something they couldn’t do on their own—was a valuable motivator in reaching their qualification goals.

Unimaginable Excitement » Milan for the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix » Dubai for the Dubai World Cup Horserace » New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade » St. Martin for the Heineken Sailing Regatta » Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day » Park City for the Sundance Film Festival » Switzerland for the Montreux Jazz Festival Exploring different latitudes and making experiences flexible and relevant for a dynamic, multi-generational corporate culture is one trend that is just taking off in the incentive travel industry. ■ *“Incentive Travel: The Participant’s Viewpoint” by the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives (SITE) and the Incentive Travel Council (ITC) of the Incentive Marketing Association


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“Mobile,” “social” and “cloud” are terms everyone is familiar with, not just IT folks. Program participants expect technology to be a significant part of their experience, just as it drives their everyday lives. They are becoming savvier every day. So when they attend meetings and events, the technology transition must be seamless. That means the focus has shifted a bit for event planners. In addition to menus and venues, technology is now a vital part of the experience, which requires additional thought. » Event strategy must reach early to late technology adopters. » Knowing your demographic well and how savvy participants are is imperative. How do participants choose to receive information? » Not unlike anything else, investments in technology must be justified and have to make sense to the overall value of the event. » The use of technology enables you to gather valuable data, then leverage it as insight gained for the next event. » It’s vital to stay current with technology trends and grow events accordingly. Event planners are constantly striving to wrap technology around an event in exciting, engaging ways. For example, Event Management leader ITA Group has created a mobile app that connects participants to each other and their event in a very unique way. The app does everything from socialize their entire travel experience to keep them on schedule and informed about their destination and its highlights.

Participants can: » Form chat groups. » Set a personalized agenda. » Obtain detailed information on restaurants, tourist attractions, nightlife and more. » Navigate their destination and connect with event staff for assistance. » Complete a survey about their experience once they return home.

“Our app puts participants in charge,” said Stacey Slifka, ITA Group Manager of Event Management. “It might be a group event, but technology ensures an individualized experience. And that creates valuable loyalty to your brand.” Registration, execution and followup have changed dramatically with advanced technology. Robust registration websites offer participants the chance to get a jump on their event experience. They can personalize contacts from a list of attendees and start networking prior to and during the event. They can get instant feedback about what’s planned and contribute to the content shared. Using technology, participants can craft their own event within an event by requesting specialized information about topics that matter most to them. Companies are loving that aspect, as crowd sourcing content results in a significantly more meaningful and memorable event for attendees.

» Challenge third-party partners to bring innovative technology ideas to the table. There is no such thing as a one-sizefits-all solution. The event management industry is all about meeting personal expectations—everything from food to amenities to transportation. And now, technology. ■

Chasing the “next big thing” when it comes to technology in the event space has become a standard part of the job. The world of technology is constantly changing. Staying on top of industry trends and technology advances is essential for survival in the industry.

Some suggestions: » Subscribe to industry leaders’ and social groups’ web feeds, blogs, etc. » Participate and audit industry events. » Solicit attendee feedback, target questions to technology (i.e. ease of use, convenience, etc.). » Watch the business-to-consumer space for inspiration.

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RECOGNITION New WorldatWork, ITA Group Study Reveals 7 Keys to Recognition Success

70% of companies interviewed leverage between three and six recognition programs.

Recognition programs continue to be a valuable staple in the HR toolkit, according to the “2013 WorldatWork Trends in Employee Recognition” study conducted by WorldatWork and ITA Group. Of the 88% of organizations with recognition programs in place, 70% leverage between three and six different programs. But quantity doesn’t mean quality. ITA Group experts say it’s unlikely all of those programs are truly impactful. Many fail to focus employees’ efforts and behaviors on what is most important to a business at the time.

Without question, recognition programs have a place in the Total Rewards Strategy, but unless they tie to specific business objectives and changing behavior for good, companies should rethink them. Some companies are getting it right. For the first time in the WorldatWork study’s 11-year history, the number of organizations operating programs that target specific behaviors jumped to 41%—versus only 25% in 2008. A few things have to fall in line for a recognition program to really work. You have to have clear

objectives. Goals everyone can align with. You need proof the program works—a well-defined measurement plan. You should also consider your organization’s culture when setting up your program. The program should be a tool managers and employees use to show appreciation and recognize achievement, but it has to make sense within your walls. And then, there’s budget. The study shows that organizations continue to budget for recognition programs at an average of two percent of payroll. And that isn’t just for awards. That budget should account for

communications, training, administration and technology. A sufficient budget will enable you to truly position these programs as tools. (Heads-up: This might require a shift in mindset for top-level managers. They need to see recognition programs as an investment, not an expense.) “The most impactful recognition programs are totally scalable,” says Jaimee Chism, ITA Group Recognition Solution Leader. “It shouldn’t take an act of Congress to change your program’s parameters, given external market dynamics, internal resources and strategic direction of your organization.”

Defining Program Objectives The number one reason recognition programs don’t survive? Poorly defined objectives. They create confusion and throw off measurement. Here are the top five recognition program objectives according to the WorldatWork study: 1. Recognize years of service 2. Create a positive work environment 3. Create a culture of recognition

4. Motivate high performance 5. Reinforce desired behaviors Break things down. Spell things out. Be specific. Use simple, clear language on all communications. Make sure to distinguish compensation from recognition. You receive compensation for what you do. You receive recognition for how you do it.

Measuring Program Effectiveness Okay, your objectives are solid, so how do you know when you’ve achieved them? The WorldatWork study identified the following leading methods of measurement used by companies today: 1. Employee satisfaction surveys (57%) 2. Usage rates and/or participation rates (53%) 3. Number of nominations (42%) 4. Turnover (30%) 5. Productivity (21%) It’s disappointing, though not surprising, that the study shows only 10% of organizations are able to calculate ROI on recognition. Admittedly, some programs are easier than others to measure. But regardless, it’s worth doing

to justify program necessity and help prioritize resources for the future. Program measurement also helps position HR professionals as strategic partners within an organization and demonstrates their understanding of the total rewards philosophy.

Training and Implementation Not unlike any other corporate initiative, your recognition programs need support. Leadership needs to believe in the purpose and potential of a recognition program—its ability to change behavior and move the needle on performance. You want the energy and support of your program to be contagious. That needs to start at the top. According to the study, right now, only 12% of organizations provide formal training on recognition programs for managers. “This prevents an organization from fully leveraging the impact of a recognition program,” said Chism. “It’s a real missed opportunity.”

Leveraging Technology The key here is to make sure technology is an enabler, not a barrier, to designing and administering


Maximize engagement with game mechanics like badges and leaderboards. Drive healthy competition with printed certificates for display.

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your program. ITA Group is seeing a growing interest in the integrated platform, which lets companies administer, track and measure different non-cash incentives and recognition programs across the entire organization. With an integrated platform, there’s corporate oversight but local flexibility, so managers are empowered to own recognition efforts. The integrated platform also creates an opportunity for social recognition, data integration and gamification.

Socializing Recognition Recognition programs can create a powerful buzz that goes a long way in uniting the multiple generations at work today. Socializing the recognition happening in your organization on a daily basis is a smart move. You can target and segment the activity by relevant groups or program objectives if necessary, just as long as you’re talking up results.

offer between three and six different recognition programs




Data Integration Information and results around your recognition programs should be easily accessible at every level for the life of your program. Let’s say you built a program on key corporate values. Employees should be able to see the recognition they’ve received and issued to ensure they know and understand core behaviors and/or

job-critical competencies. Managers viewing the same data can get a clear picture of employee performance.

Game Mechanics We’re not talking 80s arcade games here. But there’s nothing wrong with an element of fun. Adding tactics like leaderboards, badging and achievement levels can be great motivators. They’re relatively inexpensive and generate a healthy level of competition within your organization. And that means engagement and results. Recognition programs not only support an overall Total Rewards Strategy, they go a long way in helping focus employee effort and behaviors on what really matters to an organization. Tools that provide that kind of organizational sight line in a hyper-competitive, multi-tasking world are worth getting right. ■

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Cash vs. Non-Cash The Ultimate Incentive Showdown


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VS. When it comes to incentives, employees clamor for cash, asking for deposits in their checking accounts over non-cash CASH VS.program. NON-CASH awards or a points-based Cash FEATURE is simple. Deposit it and done. The problem is, it disappears just as quickly. Typically in the form of utility bills, groceries, gas and other household expenses. There is no lasting impact. No trophy value. Sure, employees can save their cash awards for something special—a vacation, home theater system or new appliances, maybe. But they don’t. Why? Our theory is the line gets blurry between a cash “award” and everyday compensation. Employees think cash awards should be directed toward everyday essentials. For that reason, they aren’t as likely to spend their cash award on something “frivolous,” like high-end golf clubs. But if they actually earned those clubs in an incentive… different story. That’s why non-cash incentives work. Employees don’t have to justify non-cash awards like cash purchases. They don’t mentally classify non-cash awards as compensation. But there are other reasons as well. Social recognition, for instance. Peers, family and friends see tangible evidence of a job well done. A paper check wouldn’t garner the same reaction. Perhaps the greatest benefit of non-cash incentives for employers is they cost far less than cash bonuses, salary increases or commissions. And there are things companies can do from a recognition standpoint that cost next to nothing—traveling trophies or certificates, prime parking spots, items from the corporate store, even a simple voicemail or email is impactful. One more reason to consider non-cash awards as an organization? Taxation. Companies must tax employees for cash awards, which can have a lasting negative impact. With non-cash/tangible awards, you have a little more flexibility. Some employers opt to cover the taxation on non-cash awards. Studies show a significant number of employees can’t even remember why they received a cash award. That means there’s little or no connection between cash and the desired behavior that earned it. So we have to ask… what’s the motivation to repeat the behavior? The truth is, perception is reality. When employees perceive the value of a non-cash award to be high, they step up performance to earn it. No matter what they say about cash. ■

CASH VS. NON-CASH – WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS… Recent research by Ann C. Dzuranin, assistant professor at Northern Illinois University and Nathan Stuart, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, looked at two groups, one receiving cash incentives, one non-cash incentives plus some form of recognition. Both groups were given compensation. The non-cash group not only outperformed those receiving cash, but showed greater motivation and commitment while doing it. Non-cash earners successfully attached a perceived value to the non-cash award. They were able to connect it to certain behaviors and were motivated to repeat those behaviors for improved performance. That connection is extremely valuable to companies implementing incentives and recognition programs to change employee behavior. “The non-cash group was further inspired by a recognition component,” said Dzuranin. “Simple things like banners, lunch with the boss, casual dress days went a long way in boosting productivity.” Dzuranin cautions that having an appropriate mix of non-cash awards is critical. People value choice. Psychological, cultural and demographical factors also come into play. As far as motivating a multi-generational workplace, Dzuranin said “Incentive behavior is deeply rooted in psychological theory, which crosses all generations. Adjusting the specific type of award by generation or offering a wide selection is the answer.” Another often-overlooked step, according to Dzuranin’s research, is aligning incentives with corporate objectives. Too many companies incent one behavior or goal at the expense of another. Dzuranin recently studied a telecommunications call center where the director had specific corporate strategic goals for revenue, customer service and absentee rates. The director was careful to design incentive programs encompassing all of her goals, so as not to create an increase in one area over another. If the focus of the month was to increase new product revenue, employees would be given a revenue goal, along with a minimum customer service rating goal, driving both behaviors equally. “We still have a great deal to learn about non-cash incentives—how and why they work,” said Dzuranin. “But for now, noncash incentives have proven to be the more powerful motivator.” Volume 14 / Issue 1 driven magazine



Awards Get Personal. Trophy value is in the eye of the beholder. ITA Group award experts are finding incentive and recognition awards are becoming more personal.

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When it comes to incentive and recognition awards, perception is everything. The decision to step up performance is personal. Think about it. Only you can decide to work harder, faster, longer. It’s your choice. So it makes sense only you can assign the true trophy value of an award you earn for making that choice. Perception is everything, according to Individual Awards experts at ITA Group. Companies running incentives and recognition programs are tapping into research and insight from experts who say it’s time to get personal with awards. “Award selection is becoming more and more individualized,” said Andrea Ruddy, Awards Specialist. “We’re no longer living in a gold watch world. Companies are allowing greater freedom in award selection in their incentive and recognition efforts.” Retailers are jumping on board with products that allow for a high level of personalization in design—custom headphones, sunglasses, luggage, even iPads can be engraved with a personal message. That’s not to say there isn’t room for cuff links, watches and more traditional products. But those awards need to be updated and modified regularly, so they appeal across today’s diverse workforce. Multi-generational influences are huge in today’s incentive and recognition award selection. Economic and cultural influences also come into play, Ruddy claims. And for large global organizations, adjustments must be made for parity. ITA Group employs a team of experts who carefully study trends in point redemption and award purchasing. They buy, organize and market awards for program participants— male or female, 25 to 65—based on that research. Because trophy value is a moving target. ■

There’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple. A recent Gallup poll found 82% of employees said simple praise and recognition from managers is inspiring. Don’t rule out time off, prime parking spots, items from your corporate store, etc.

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Why there should be an “I” in “team”– and other insights on teamwork In his book, Teamwork is an Individual Skill: Getting Your Work Done When Sharing Responsibility, Christopher Avery describes “team player” as an “insulting label.” How can someone who writes an entire book about teamwork consider “team player” an insult? Avery goes on to explain that he believes it to be insulting, because it “connotes someone whose primary characteristic is compliance.” And instead of helping the reader be a team player, his interest is in helping the reader “make maximum use of a team of which you are a member.”

believes “team player” is an insult and “using” team members is a better idea? Because Avery takes the mystery out of successful teamwork by combining academic theory with real-world experience to create a set of behaviors everyone can demonstrate individually. If you’re like me, you’ve spent years of your life hoping you get lucky and are “put on a good team.” Or feeling demotivated and frustrated at being on a team where you do all the work. Avery makes a convincing case that by knowing and demonstrating the behaviors he recommends,

each of these themes provides the foundation for success in the next theme. Each chapter provides theory alongside tactical suggestions for how to apply the theory in the real world. An introduction explains the shift in mindset required to develop and demonstrate the skills and behaviors that result in successful teams: We don’t need authority over others to take full responsibility for the success of our teams. And a conclusion provides an action plan for those readers who, like me, have been convinced to take responsibility for the success of teams

We don’t need authority over others to take full responsibility for the success of our teams.

So if, as Avery writes in his introduction, “Becoming skilled at doing more with others may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure you remain employed in the emerging knowledge economy,” why heed the advice of someone who 22 driven magazine

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we each have the power to ensure any team we’re on is a good one. The book is organized around five themes, with a chapter on each: personal responsibility, partnerships, shared purpose, trust and collaboration. Avery says

of which they’ve been a member. The strength of the book is not just in its empowering message, but also in the specific and actionable recommendations it provides to help the reader bring the theory to life. ■



ABOUT THE REVIEWER  essamyn J Donovan is the Enterprise Portfolio & Process Manager at ITA Group.

Sometimes numbers, not words, tell the most compelling story. So take a look at some numbers we think prove the power of a communications campaign by ITA Group.

4.5x 2x 75% 1

Organizations that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to report high employee engagement.*

Organizations with strong communications have twice the financial returns achieved by organizations with poor communications.

A recent survey says that’s how many consumers seek information from two or more mediums before taking action. Good thing, because ITA Group’s communications team creates international award-winning cross-media campaigns.

There’s only one way to increase the power and potential of your engagement program. That’s through communications.

Go online to see our great work:

*Watson Wyatt Communication ROI Study

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ITA Group’s New Recognition Platform Easy. Efficient. Effective.

Are you up for a demo of our recognition technology? recognitiondemo

Five reasons you’re pulling your hair out over recognition: ➊ Finding and keeping good talent—fast onboarding

Five ways ITA Group can help you keep more of it. ➊ Timely recognition that’s simple and fun to issue,

➋ Too many incentive programs are causing confusion

➋ One platform for all non-cash incentives and

➌ Resources are stretched too thin. ➍ No results—real numbers—to show my senior

➌ Robust reporting and valuable measurement to

and motivating people to stay. and inefficiency.


recognition programs.

show results and impact.

➍ Exciting, meaningful awards for every generation, every culture, any budget.

➎ Targeted, ongoing communication to keep employees engaged.


➎ We’re missing the mark with employee awards.

track and socialize.

Driven V14 / I1  
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