Twelve questions to consider when choosing your next employee incentive program

Doing more with less – we hear it more and more. How do you provide incentives and gifts that will inspire, motivate and show genuine appreciation? Doing more with less is not about saving money, time or labour – it is about creating better and more valuable experiences.

Twelve questions to consider when choosing your next employee incentive program

As most of us know, the right gift can help a good business relationship become a great one while the wrong gift can confuse people and send the wrong message. Ideal customer gifts will reflect your thoughtfulness, creativity, and your attention to detail. What about recognizing employees? Employee recognition is a team-building tool that sends a message to employees about what is important to company leaders and the behaviors that are valued – choose your gifts wisely!

Here are a few questions to consider when choosing your next incentive and recognition program, awards and promotional items to ensure you are creating better and more valuable meetings and events.

  1. Who are your potential recipients? Sounds simple, but you need to really understand who your audience is. Knowing the kind of gift your recipients will value is paramount.
  2. Will they appreciate modern, traditional, tech ideas, eco-friendly items, artwork, or limited-edition gift ideas?
  3. Would they value exclusive, custom-made gifts or is mass-produced okay?
  4. Is there a theme? If so, providing a gift that reflects the theme helps continue the experience long after the event is over.
  5. Invitations. I know “e-vites” (internet-based invitations) are popular and inexpensive, but for those occasions when you do need paper, ensure your invitations make a powerful impact. For a recent incentive event, we designed wood postcard invitations, which included a personal message from the president of the company along with an image of the destination. The resulting impact was exactly as planned, helping inspire employees to make their target and ensure they were rewarded.
  6. What do you want the recipients to say or feel when they open their gift?
  7. Do you hand deliver, mail, or courier? This will help you decide on size, weight and how fragile your items can be. Shipping by ground instead of overnight can save thousands of dollars. Plan ahead to avoid costly overnight courier fees.
  8. Is it important to the recipients how and where the items are made?
  9. How important is it that the gifts give back to the community in some way?
  10. Always see a prototype on a product before you sign off on production.
  11. Always sign off on a proof of your logo on an item, even on invitations, and cards.
  12. Does your current vendor/supplier handle the design, manufacturing, and logistics? If not, ask them to do so. Most suppliers will go out of their way to help make you look good. The last thing you need to be doing is wrapping bows, hand-writing names on envelopes, or running out to purchase bubble wrap! Currently, do you achieve the impression you want to? Are your expectations met? If yes, great! If not, ask your vendors/suppliers to dig deeper to help you.

Janet Helm can be reached via twitter, linkedIn and Facebook and online at

Venue & Supplier Profiles