The Incentive Dilemma


Without a doubt, the economic landscape has changed and along with it, Meetings and Incentives industry. Pure incentive travel has taken a nose-dive over the past couple of years, and although there are signs of increased spending, corporates are still cautious about how they are seen by the public, and walking the tightrope of transparency and employee reward.


The incentive reward system is a powerful tool that is easily proven effective in providing employee satisfaction especially when called on to produce superhuman effort in difficult times. Even so – there are some that question the enormous bonuses that executives can receive.

Its a hard public relations exercise to differentiate between bonus and reward. A sales executive that receives a travel or business related incentive is in quite a different league to a Wall street trader that gets hundreds of thousands of dollars in difficult economic times seems to go against the principle of fairness.

But – those that keenly compare incentive payouts will get some joy in the fact that Wall Street year-end bonuses are likely to fall as much as 30% below last year’s levels, with traders and investment bankers feeling the deepest pain.

Needless to say, traders, may complain about how little they are being paid for navigating the perilous markets of 2011. But they are unlikely to get any sympathy from the Occupy Wall Street protesters, or shareholders who have already incurred sizable losses.

But this goes right to the heart of the problem, nearly two-thirds of employees recently surveyed said their most important incentive was the size of their paycheck and bonus even if they felt they were overpaid. The irony is, if a trader isn’t feeling rewarded, is he engaged in his job as the numbers roll down his or her screen. We may end up victims of a poorly thought through incentive strategy system.


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