Get to the point: why points programs will motivate your team

May 6, 2021 | Rewards Programs

You’re planning a family trip to Disneyworld and you need airfare to get there. Do you choose your airline based on cost of the ticket, convenience of the arrival/departure date, or because you’ll earn points on every mile you travel?
Do you use a particular bank that awards you for transactions, even though they are all similar and there may not be a branch anywhere near you?
Whether it’s choosing our grocery stores, gas stations or online retailers, knowing we can accumulate points along the way motivates us make important decisions daily. The same concept applies to your employees and sales teams, which is why a points system is a powerful tool for incentivizing and rewarding your team.

What are points programs?

Points systems are a non-monetized way to reward and reinforce desired behaviors among your employees, your customers, or even your channel partners. When you complete a task, you receive a point and you can redeem these points for something you may never have considered purchasing with cash. It is perceived as a gift!
Points programs have been around for a while because they are such an effective rewards tool that truly motivates your audiences. Here’s a couple reasons why you should consider points for your reward program:

  • Acquiring points is appealing to everyone, which increases your rewards and recognition program participation rates.
  • Points programs are adaptable as your needs change, your audience shifts, or your goal/objectives is adjusted to react to external factors.
  • Points can act as a type of bartering unit, specifically branded for your company to enhance brand awareness and company pride.
  • Any audience, in any location, can easily acquire and redeem points.
  • You’ll receive a wealth of data within your points program that offers invaluable information about your participants, their needs, and their motivations.

Points programs may sound easy to implement, but not all points systems are the same. Before you begin, consider these do’s and don’ts to starting your points-based reward and recognition program.

Do offer something for everyone

Your employees are different people, which means their needs are different, too. Since the goal of your rewards and recognition program is to motivate your teams and drive change, make sure you’re giving them a reward that is actually motivating to them. To do this, you need a robust mix of desirable and culturally relevant rewards that appeal to a variety of audiences and gives your employees a choice. Our Rewarding You program does just that, offering millions of culturally specific global awards including name-brand merchandise, retail gift cards, experiences and event tickets, charitable donations, and vacations and travel. Plus, it’s all available in a user-friendly online catalog that’s created specifically for your company.

Don’t assume cash will do the trick

But it’s easy to just give your top performer cash, right? Well, it’s easy, but it’s not effective.  Multiple studies prove cash doesn’t actually motivate your team. Because it tends to be used on everyday purchases – like buying groceries or gas – the reasons they earned the cash, gets lost. More importantly, there’s no emotional connection or memory of your company when using the cash……it just becomes part of their paycheck and is highly forgettable. Plain and simple, cash does not work. Just ask one of our clients in this Success Story: Who Needs Cash, Anyway?

Do offer multiple reward levels

Unlike group travel, which is designed to reward only a small portion of your team, points programs are designed to appeal to everyone. You can acquire points from anywhere, and you can redeem them on anything, at any time. This is an extremely beneficial tool as the workplace shifts and we adapt to more remote workers (who still want to feel connected to their company and teams). Multiple reward levels also give you budget flexibility and the opportunity to specifically target multiple groups, like employees and channel partners. A robust incentive and recognition technology like PerformX® will allow you to create many different promotion types that achieve your goals.

Don’t assume points participants are the same as ecommerce users.

Points programs aren’t simply re-creating a retail experience, like Best Buy or Amazon. Instead, offer products and services specifically targeting your participant demographics and available at a wide variety of price points. It should be a mix of luxury brands,(relevant or trending?) items and aspirational items to meet a variety of needs and motivate everyone on your team to act. Generally, more people are saving points for something specific as opposed to browsing. One10’s global  reward catalog provides endless options for teams to find that perfect motivational gift.

Do communicate your program

Don’t set it and forget it. In order for a points program to be successful, you must constantly communicate the program to your audiences. Remember, you have multiple audiences who are participating in your rewards and recognition program, so it’s important to keep them all engaged, all along the way. That may mean different things for different people based on job roles, internal/external audiences, and high vs. low performers. Use a variety of communication tools to reach everyone, including snail mail, email, and an online portal.

Don’t forget about customer service.

What happens if an item is delivered to your employee damaged, or not as expected? Unfortunately, mistakes happen. Treat your winners like the top performers that they really are and don’t make them wait in limbo while the situation is (hopefully) resolved. A commitment to customer-obsession and service is not only necessary but expected among your valuable earners. Providing top-notch support along with full order tracking and immediate gratification is assured. Plus, 98% of awards are received within three days!

Do make your program easy to use and join

If a program is hard to find, hard to understand and hard to participate in, then it will be even harder to motivate your employees to participate in the first place. You won’t be successful at changing behavior and your (unmotivated) employees will not increase your bottom line. Engage your teams by offering a user-friendly customer experience that includes an easy-to-access online points portal that makes tracking and redeeming points simple.

Don’t be afraid of technology

Technology is your friend when it comes to your rewards program. Start by using a platform that is created with a mobile-first design. Rather than squeezing a website (that would normally be viewed on a computer) onto a cell phone screen, the website is redesigned specifically for the small screen. Only the most important elements are included, which reduces clutter. This leads to fast loading speeds, quick access to pertinent information, and increased user satisfaction. We don’t wait for dial-up internet, so don’t force your rewards and recognition audiences to wait for your points program to load when they are on-the-go. This is particularly important to global audiences and younger demographics.
Points programs are a fantastic way to engage your diverse teams, are much more likely to be shared socially, encourage repeat behavior, and move the needle in a big way to enhance your bottom line…..and they WILL have an emotional tie to your company when they get it. They are easy to create and implement if you have the right partner. Contact our team to get started.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith

Mark is the senior director of rewards at One10. Mark worked for 10 years as an official team licensed apparel buyer and planner for clients such as the NHL and His experience also includes working in a Rewards Service Group as Ecommerce Marketing Manager for over 3000 programs internationally. You will rarely find Mark in a bad mood and his talents are many as he plays the stand-up bass in a community orchestra and the bass guitar in a rock-and-roll band.