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What are Corporate Incentive Programs?

By Jessica F. Black
Updated Feb 01, 2024
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There are a number of corporate incentive programs, and they vary depending on the type of corporation, budget, and program planner. Corporate incentives are generally rewards given to employees in order to boost morale and increase job performance. Each company devises a personalized plan, which usually includes setting requirements for those eligible to receive incentives, preparing a budget that financially enables incentives, and determining which type of incentive is the most effective for employee performance. The most common corporate incentive programs are travel, goal oriented, fixed budget, and points programs.

Travel based corporate incentive programs reward executives who meet the individualized criteria set by the company. Most corporations use air, hotel, cruise, and adventure incentives. Airline certificates are a reward that offers tickets to employees and generally allows him or her to choose the destination. Hotel certificates are similar, and companies usually choose a hotel package that is valid worldwide to also allow employees to plan his or her own trip. Adventure and cruise packages are typically more expensive because they are all expense paid vacations to either exotic or adventure themed locations.

Goal programs are devised to set achievements for employees and reward those who reach corporate set goals. Rewards are usually based on company budgets and may include electronics, gift certificates to stores or restaurants, and sometimes rewards as large as vehicles or time shares. The downfall to this reward system is the inability to predict the cost. If rewards are offered to a large number of employees, it is hard to foresee how many may reach the goal and how much it will cost after rewards have been distributed.

Corporate incentive programs based on a fixed budget are often used by smaller corporations to avoid unaffordable expenses. Companies usually devise a rewards system that is only offered to a certain number of employees and although goals are set, only a few win. This is a controlled system incorporated into weekly, monthly, or annual budgets.

Point programs are used to encourage a multitude of employee traits including performance, behavior, organizational skills, and overall presentation. The duration of the point system is usually continuous, and companies set times and requirements in order to redeem points for chosen rewards. This system encourages constant improvement by offering a variety of rewards and changing the requirements often. Although corporate incentive programs may vary, the purpose is usually to increase profits by enhancing office motivation.

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