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by Alex Palmer | February 12, 2013
Self-direction and achievement -- but also incentives -- motivate financial services agents, a new study finds. According to the National Motivational Research Agent Study, released on February 11, 83 percent of financial and insurance sales reps attribute some portion of their efforts to rewards and recognition. 

The report was conducted by LIMRA, an association for financial services and insurance industries, and employee motivation firm Maritz. Drawing on the responses of more than 5,400 agents from 20 LIMRA member companies, the report covers both U.S. and Canadian finance workers.

“This study demonstrated that further emphasis needs to be placed on effective design to better engage financial services agents,” said Tom Wilson, financial services sector lead at Maritz, in a statement. “Throughout the industry, we evaluated agent producers of varying levels of performance to understand what effectively motivates them when specifically evaluating personal values, goals and preferences.”

The study looked at what personal values drove agents in their work. The top value cited was “self-direction,” or independent thought in making work decisions, which 20 percent of respondents indicated. This was closely followed by “achievement,” with 18 percent of agents saying they strove for personal success when based on identified performance expectations. The third-highest value was “security,” selected by 16 percent, as it connects to safety, harmony, and stability in the organizational culture. 

Respondents also shared their opinions on specific elements of incentive travel experiences. The destination was considered a highly influential motivator in reward and recognition, but four-star inclusive properties were selected as more appealing than five-star, not inclusive, properties. Younger agents prefer travel experiences in the summer months of July or August.

“There’s a strong correlation between agents’ perceptions of their company and the programs it offers; with these insights, it’s clear companies need to adjust program focus,” added Wilson. “These data supports the theory that participant experience is key when designing incentive travel programs.”