Arecent survey by the New-York-based SITE Foundation showed that tangible incentives dramatically increase work performance by an average of 22 percent. The findings are particularly relevant today as companies struggle with improving productivity, performance and profitability in a down economy.

“Incentive programs may be the single most important performance-improvement tool available to executives today,” said Mike Hadlow, president of the SITE Foundation. “They help create positive motion in a work environment.”

Other key findings of the SITE Foundation study:

  • Incentive programs aimed at individuals increased performance a substantial 27 percent. Programs aimed at teams increase performance a stunning 45 percent.

  • An overwhelming 92 percent of workers surveyed indicated they achieved their goals because of incentives, and 57 percent of corporations surveyed reported that objectives were met or surpassed.

  • Long-term incentives are more powerful than short term (44 percent gain for programs beyond a year versus a 20 percent gain for programs less than one month).

  • While even poorly designed incentive programs improve performance, proper analysis of the performance issue, the design and implementation of an incentive program is key to its success.

Graybar Electric, St. Louis, credits the SITE study as a reassuring factor in the company's decision to expand its ePoint incentive program (www.graybar-epoint.com) to contractors and resellers who buy products distributed through Graybar. The program was previously only available to telephone resellers.

Totally Web-based, ePoint offers representatives from contractors, resellers and dealers a choice of more than 2,000 incentive awards when they buy selected manufacturer-sponsored products and systems from Graybar. The ePoints earned are deposited into member accounts every month and can be exchanged for merchandise and travel for their employee incentive programs — for sales, safety or other activities — from Graybar's Web-based catalog, which is located on the ePoint Web site.

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