Jun 12, 2017
Written by: Mark Hirschfeld
(View Author Bio)
Are we more motivated and inspired by a gift (or experience) that gives us pleasure
than we are by cold hard cash and, if so, can we use this insight to engage our sales force?
At BI WORLDWIDE, we use the principles of behavioral economics to create the best engagement strategies on the planet. We work with expert academics who advise us on the latest research on human behavior, engagement and decision-making. We use non-cash rewards and recognition to engage and motivate employees and sales teams. Check out our case study, blog posts and white papers library to see how our customized and results-driven solutions have helped clients all over the world.
There’s a great Seinfeld episode where Kramer bests Jerry by giving Elaine a birthday gift she really wanted — an antique wooden bench. Jerry gives her
a wad of cash.
Elaine had been dreaming of having this wooden bench in her apartment for some time, so when she compared the bench to Jerry’s gift – the wad of cash
– the bench won by a landslide.
Are we more motivated and inspired by a gift that gives us pleasure than we are by cold hard cash and, if so, can we use this insight to engage our sales force?
In 2009, Victoria Shaffer, Ph. D, and Hal Arkes, Ph. D, published an impressive academic study¡ on employee motivation and rewards. Their research proved this: although employees say they want cash incentives, they are actually motivated more effectively by non-cash incentives. Their study showed that employees would work harder to earn a reward such as concert tickets or a new computer than cash.
We decided to put their study to the test, in this case with a focus on sales
associates in a distribution channel during a two-month sales incentive.
In the first part of the study, we asked one group to rate cash and non-cash
incentives in terms of what they would prefer.
By a two-to-one margin, study participants told us they would, if given the option, choose cash over a non-cash reward. But here’s where our research gets interesting.
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