Travel incentives boost staff performance
A recently conducted analysis of one company's long-standing use of travel awards as a motivational tool by The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) shows that such incentives have a clear, measurable and positive impact on corporate culture and employee performance, as well as a broader 'ripple effect' on the economy of the region where an incentive travel programme (ITP) is held.
The IRF conducted the study to document the 'anatomy' of an incentive travel programme and provide a better understanding of the broad reach of a successful ITP.
In analysing incentive travel, the company says that the importance of these programmes should not be undervalued, as their impact and value reach well beyond the typical event timeline.
Earners of the incentive travel programme are far from the only beneficiaries of the programme. The sponsoring company, the destination and the suppliers all receive significant benefits as well.
Apart from providing networking opportunities and building participant motivation, researchers found that the incentive travel programme affords companies the following benefits:
- Positive organisational culture
- Employee recognition
- Retention of top performers
- Increased motivation to meet or exceed financial and non-financial objectives
- Improving corporate culture
One of the strongest benefits the incentive travel programme has is an influence on corporate culture. Based on survey responses, researchers concluded that both the incentive travel award and the recognition afforded by corporate leaders when employees participate in the ITP are key motivators.
One respondent commented: "The incentive travel programme creates a certain type of culture where people's performance and contributions are appreciated." At the same time, a company manager's comments about ending such a programme noted that not only would it "probably have a negative impact, both in terms of productivity, as well as the impact on the business" but that "if we're trying to create a culture of pay-for-performance and recognising contributions, closing it would send the wrong message."
One key measurement of programme success is its relationship to employee retention and performance. Researchers examined the tenure and performance ratings of 105 employees who earned an incentive trip and found that, overall, 88.5% of incentive travel earners have a performance level of 1 or 2 (with 1 being the highest level of performance and 4 the lowest level of performance) compared to 31.2% of the control population.