By RedBalloon for Business

Experiences are better than cash rewards

Say goodbye to cash bonuses, and instead give your team, customers, partners or clients a reason to celebrate this festive season with amazing experiences.

It’s hard to argue with numbers. 

  • Non-cash incentives have been proven to be 24% more powerful at boosting performance than cash incentives (University of Chicago).
  • More than that, people want experiences – more than ‘things’ and more than at any other time in history. In fact, 31% of household income is now spent on things to do, including travel, dining and entertainment (JP Morgan).
  • In Australia, online search volume for experiences is in the billions each year (Hitwise). And those businesses defined as ‘experiential’ are four times more profitable, have two times higher average revenues and boast 40% lower turnover (Jacob Morgan, 2017).

This festive season, giving back to your people – be they employees, customers, partners or clients – is a powerful way of tapping into engagement, connection and building your brand’s social footprint through powerful word of mouth. 

And here are three reasons why…

  1. Experiences drive engagement

“Experiences that are personal and memorable can help us acquire and retain clients and customers as well as recruit and retain top talent,” Colleen Reilly – author, Forbes

A culture built on the foundation of ‘thanks’ is proven to build engagement, drive retention and attract top talent, while simultaneously reducing attrition and turn-over. Looking after your people looks after your business. 

According to Accenture, employers who invest in a great employee experience outperform others by 122 percent on key success metrics. And it flows to customers, with a great employee experience credited with directly impacting the bottom line. In fact one study from IBM showed that companies ranked in the top 25 percent on employee engagement reported nearly three times the return on assets and double the return on sales compared to organisations in the bottom quartile. This creates a real competitive advantage for those businesses investing in employee engagement. They not only save on recruitment costs by retaining their top performers, but the flow on effect of delivering a great customer experience amplifies this advantage.

With disengaged employees estimated to cost the Australian economy $305 billion each year due to lost productivity – an average of $26,300 per worker (EY), it’s in everyone’s best interests to invest in a happy workplace.

  1. Experiences create talkability

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity,” Tahir Shah, author.

In a way that material goods cannot, shared experiences create moments of bonding, camaraderie and stories worth telling. It’s these stories that create culture and folklore – and that’s how brands are built in the hearts and minds of both employees and customers. 

When was the last time you heard someone raving about the amazing new toaster they bought? It doesn’t happen. But that time they conquered their fear of heights on skydive; now that’s a good story.

In fact, the telling of the story is sometimes even more powerful than the event itself. The event becomes heightened by the addition of photos, video, commentary and when shared across social networks. In many ways it’s the ‘bragging rights’ and talkability where many derive the greatest pleasure. Social currency is amassed according to likes, shares and comments against tweets, grams and snapchats. 

For brands this is an incredibly powerful action to tap into – by putting your brand on that moment you are forever connected to the memory. What’s more, the modern workplace will soon be comprised mainly by Millennials, and 75 percent of this generation would happily use a designated company hashtag to share their own experiences (CONE).

  1. Experiences build connection

“Experiences create connections and bonds like nothing else. And that’s what the ‘experience economy’ trades – it’s the currency of human connection,” David Anderson – CEO and Co-Founder, Big Red Group.

Experiences by their nature are fun, interesting and exciting. They’re also very personal – people have bucket lists, aspirations and things they’ve always dreamed of doing. ​By putting your brand on a moment of personal recognition, you can build emotional connection between you, your employees, clients and customers.​

It’s been proven that connected and happy employees are 186% more likely to recommend their company to a friend (Globoforce); identify 98% more strongly with the values of their organisation; and spend 65% more of their time feeling energised at work.

As humans we want to feel known and understood; rewarded and recognised for our efforts. If this is done in a personalised way – with a reward that speaks to our own individual preferences, then it’s even more powerful. When more than two thirds of employees say recognition from a manager is better at driving performance than money (EY), it becomes obvious that business is about people. And the brands that put their people first will see the profits flow.

So this festive season it makes good business sense to choose experiences to recognise your people. It will pay dividends and also build a culture of truly engaged people who feel connected to your brand, and want to tell others about it.

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To find out more about how the RedBalloon for Business team can help you reward and recognise your people, contact us today