Performance Incentive Program Communication Drives Engagement

by | Oct 30, 2012 | Blog

We’ve all heard the phrase “penny-wise and pound-foolish”.  This adage relates to decisions where companies, and individuals, disburse considerable energy on the large part of expenditure, but then decide to “nickel and dime” the overall strategy to save a little bit of money. This, many times, inhibits your investment from reaching its full potential – and ultimately has a negative impact on your overall return.

This frequently occurs in performance incentive strategies and, unfortunately, can be a detriment to optimizing the effectiveness of a program.

Years ago, the formula in the performance improvement industry was that 20-30% of a company’s program budget should be put towards communications and program administration.

Then came:

  • The need to cut budgets
  • The corporate shift to insourcing to save on agency and vendor fees
  • The Internet

The result? Companies are communicating their programs less than ever before and therefore seeing smaller returns.


  • By cutting the small dollars out of the budget, money is saved, but the program is not kept “top of mind” amongst the audience
  • Taking the work internally means that someone (with, in many cases less specialized expertise) now has something else to do – and he/she doesn’t necessarily have the bandwidth to do it. Job enlargement ≠ job enrichment
  • With the Internet, there is the belief that 1) everything can be electronic and 2) people will go to a website to see their performance and see what they can earn – which is not always the case

Communicating your incentive program’s goals, guidelines and benefits is invaluable to its success. By choosing to “skimp” on marketing initiatives along the way, companies are finding that their large initial investments are providing smaller returns.

Performance incentive communication campaigns can also have the added benefit of reinforcing corporate messaging by highlighting the latest company information (value-added services, products, etc.) This keeps participants current on what is going on in your organization, as well as remind them that you want to recognize their hard work with the opportunity to earn something special.

To really maximize the effectiveness of your outreach approach, it’s important to treat your company’s performance incentive program as a strategic initiative, or “product”. Would you launch a product without a communications campaign? Would you want to remind your customers about the product? If you consider it a strategic initiative, wouldn’t you communicate the initiative to your customers? To your employees?

An axiom that we at HMI have found true is “frequency of communication captures mind share, mind share captures market share.”

I once heard of a study that found that in order for a person to remember something, it must be communicated to them 18 times, using differing mediums.  How many times do you communicate your performance incentive program?

Contact HMI Performance Incentives to help you drive participant engagement with an effective communications campaign.

Need more incentive insights? Check out these related articles.

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