Incentive Programs Used by the Pros

Here's how the country's most influential loyalty and rewards suppliers motivate their own

In an industry that provides Canada’s corporate achievers with some of the most innovative events, incentives, rewards and recognition programs imaginable, it’s comforting to know they also know how to apply these programs to their very own employees.

At Montreal’s Rideau Recognition Solutions, for example, the golden rule is “to treat employees how we would like them to treat our company.” To that end, Peter Hart, president & chief executive officer says recognition starts with the basics. While at many companies birthdays are celebrated within teams and on a personal level, at Rideau they have remained a corporate initiative. “Employees receive a personalized card from their managers and teammates with a small gift, usually a gift card for the movies, bookstore or local coffee house,” says Hart.

At Maritz Canada Inc., in Mississauga, Ont., the positive effects of the incentive programs they run for clients is more than enough evidence to motivate their own employees. “To be successful offering our services to our clients, and to retain the best talent in the market, we recognize the importance of understanding, enabling and motivating our own employees,” says Gayle Duncan, vice-president, marketing. “We take a multi-dimensional approach to how we incent, reward and recognize our staff.”

At Maritz, an annual profit-sharing program rewards each employee for successful business results. “What makes this program stellar is that we set realistic targets, empowering sales teams and practice units. Overachievement in objectives results in bonuses—which have been paid 10 years running!” says Duncan.

At Rideau, rewards also come in the form of career development. So far, 80 of 275 employees have taken company-sponsored English or French language courses, 55 have taken leadership training courses and 16 have become Six Sigma Greenbelts. “This program has allowed Rideau to fill many positions from within,” Hart says.

Incentive programs at Maritz are fine-tuned and memorable. “Last year we had an employee incentive program personified by a Maritz superhero we called Mo. The Mo Campaign kept excitement high with emails and voicemail to employees to encourage them to achieve record results,” says Duncan. “The program was so successful, an incremental Mo Bonus was paid over and above the regular bonus.”

A Maritz sales incentive program called Summit awards exclusive trips to those who attain and surpass sales targets, and non-sales client delivery excellence awards provide a quarterly acknowledgment of nominees, and one nominee is randomly chosen for a trip for two to a sun and sand destination.

Great Idea!
Some novel and inspiring examples of how to reward and recognize:

1. At Rideau, when an employee puts in a change of address to the HR department this automatically triggers the sending of a housewarming plant to the employee’s new home.

2. At Maritz, whenever an important new client or project is won, there is a bell ringing, where the person who won the new client literally rings a bell in the lobby and the entire company comes out to hear about the program.

3. At Rideau, employees can earn up to $5,000 (depending on the position) if they recommend a friend for a job who is subsequently hired. “This has eliminated outside agency fees and has created employees who mentor and care for each other,” says Peter Hart, president & chief executive officer Rideau Recognition Solutions in Montreal.

4. Maritz offers a number of smaller-scale reward and recognition initiatives, such as an impromptu visit by an ice cream truck on a hot day or the executive team serving breakfast in the lobby on the first morning of the new fiscal year.

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