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Maintaining a stable workforce in changing times

Rewards and recognition are top drivers of employee engagement in APAC

By Carine Low

The continuity of business

It is, perhaps, no exaggeration to say that the current COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. While at times it may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that time will come. In fact, savvy businesses are already planning for a post-COVID-19 world, to not only ensure the continuity of their business but thrive within the ‘new normal’.

Now, more than ever, businesses are craving stability. And for good reason. Stability breeds certainty, and certainty breeds profit. Though there will be inevitable changes, businesses will remain integral to society in Asia-Pacific (APAC) and beyond, so the wheels of industry will continue to turn. However, the workforce of tomorrow will likely be very different than the one you have today.

Rewards that resonate

Employee churn is an issue across every industry in APAC. With the advances of technology and a growing millennial workforce, it is important that businesses understand the transitioning needs of the modern employee and offer appropriate incentives to reward and retain them. The price of not doing so can be considerable. In fact, it takes one to two years for new hires to reach the operational efficiency of current employees and this training can cost anywhere from 50- 200 per cent of the employee’s base salary.

Knowing how to engage and fulfill your workforce’s professional goals is imperative and will minimize the need to rehire and retrain. While the base salary they take home each month is of course relevant; sales incentives and rewards can go far beyond simply compensation for a good job done. It is important that companies provide the motivation and rewards which will resonate the most with employees, so that teams will align themselves with the company’s over-riding goals and perform to the best of their ability. It has been proven that the development and implementation of a sales incentive program can be powerful in motivating teams and retaining talents.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Flexibility is key

While non-monetary incentives such as recognition and praise remain important motivators of staff of all ages, monetary rewards remain attractive to sales representatives as they offer freedom and flexibility; something highly valued by them given their nature of work.

Flexibility is key. Companies need to realize the importance of choice when it comes to boosting their incentive programs. Extras like travel rewards and gifts are great but giving sales representatives a choice of incentive can be even more impactful. Custom-tailored commission and rewards programs can inspire sales representatives to strive for higher-level goals and embrace new opportunities at work.

A digital age

Our Consumer Incentives survey last year revealed how there are increasingly high expectations for getting pay-outs quickly and efficiently. In fact, 4-in-10 (39%) of those we surveyed said a day was the maximum amount of time it should take to receive a reward after applying to receive it. In today’s digital age of instant gratification, it is clear that the incentive experience should also be a timely and seamless one to effectively motivate staff. Companies can draw inspiration from the research to aid them in designing an incentive program that is truly frictionless and offers the digital capabilities that younger generations have grown to expect.

Switching to digital incentives offers a range of value-added options for both employers and sales representatives. Organizations can issue digital incentives in the form of a physical or virtual prepaid card, which allows sales representatives to add to their mobile wallets and spend almost anywhere they please. Not only do sales representatives benefit from a shorter wait time to receive their rewards, they also enjoy the flexibility to spend the reward as they see fit.

Such a program can provide a wealth of useful information for employers too. As employees earn and spend their rewards, valuable data on where and what their sales representatives are spending their incentives on can help companies to refine their incentive programs moving forward.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Giving empowerment

Importantly, digital incentive programs give staff more control and visibility over the rewards they have received. Wirecard’s Sales Incentive Card allows cardholders to view their account balance and transaction details conveniently using a mobile app or card management portal. This way, employees are empowered to spend on the items they want, while branding on the digital cards helps to increase their loyalty.

We have even seen some companies apply an element of gamification to the process which adds a layer of fun to boost engagement. One such option is a milestone-based rewards system that recognizes and rewards achievement to encourage sales representatives at every step. As they can easily draw the connection between their performance and earnings (and potentially against other team members to add a competitive element), they are more likely to strive harder and drive more sales.

The need for stability

In these changing times, we are all striving for a greater degree of stability. There is no doubt that technology will take on an additional resonance in helping businesses adapt and thrive. It mustn’t be forgotten that employees are the beating heart of any organization. Now, more than ever, it is important to optimize sales incentive programs to minimize employee turnover. Digitalization is the key to employee engagement, satisfaction and retention. As industries continue to adapt to new and emerging technologies, companies need to leverage the right tools to remain competitive and future ready.

A 2018 global report by AON found rewards and recognition to be the top driver of engagement for employees in APAC. Therefore, to encourage retention, companies in the region should look to enhance their existing incentive programs to drive better sales performance and employee loyalty. By offering a personalized, digital experience that delivers incentives instantly and conveniently, companies can motivate their sales representatives by giving them the appreciation they deserve, driving engagement and success. To find out more about how our Sales Incentive Cards can help, please click here.

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