by Leo Jakobson | October 04, 2010
It’s our pleasure to announce the finalists of Incentive’s Second Annual Motivation Masters Awards. We’ve been collecting nominations for most of 2010, and the field has now narrowed to eight achievers in the following categories: sales, channel partners, employee recognition, and employee engagement.

These awards celebrate the most effective, most creative, and best incentive and employee engagement programs of the year, showcasing what a truly great incentive program looks like. The winners will be profiled in the January/February 2011 issue of Incentive.

Sales Incentives

Galderma, a leading pharmaceutical company specializing in dermatology, turned to Performance Plus Marketing for its "Power Points Program" (P3) incentive to motivate its 1,000 sales people to sustain growth. The program theme for 2009, "We Are One – Right Here, Right Now," was in support of Galderma’s corporate goal of bringing together recently acquired divisions and companies. 

Participants had the opportunity to earn points, which were then redeemable for high-end merchandise awards and individual travel, in sales contests and by demonstrating best-in-class behaviors during manager observations. 

Dillard’s Inc.
After double-digit growth in the past three years, Dillard’s—one of the nation’s largest fashion and home furnishing retailers—faced a double-digit downturn in sales in 2009, combined with cuts to co-op advertising payments from vendors. To increase sales, attract more vendor support for sales incentives, and engage those sellers, Dillard’s worked with All Star Incentive Marketing on the Dillard’s "Awards – Back to Campus" program. 

Set in the traditionally slow summer sales period, the program offered sales associates and managers points redeemable from a catalog of brand-name merchandise awards. Vendors who kicked in more received a Focus Week of double points. Weekly store goals offered team point bonuses, and mystery shoppers led to individual bonus-point awards. 

Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk, a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company, which launched a new diabetes drug, Victoza, in February 2010, turned to Performance Plus Marketing to create "Club V," a Las Vegas launch event that offered training and individual and team sales competitions, setting the stage for similarly branded sales incentive contests. Club V combined incentive travel with points-based individual and team training programs. Points were redeemable for merchandise awards, and the top 10 percent of sales members gained access to the Vault, a VIP area at an evening event set in a nightclub.  

King Pharmaceuticals
Harith Productions was asked to provide an over-the-top incentive travel program to motivate and reward the sales representatives who qualified for King Pharmaceuticals’ President’s Cup. This group, the top 7.5 percent, generated more than 20 percent of the company’s sales in 2008. 

Their reward was "Country of Contrasts," a five-day incentive travel program held in Iceland in May 2009, which took, as its cue, the diversity of the country’s rugged natural beauty: geysers and waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanoes. The program also played on the nation’s green reputation, using biodiesel vehicles to transport participants to events and outings, for example.   

Channel Sales

Even as over-the-top incentive travel programs go, the Amway 50th Anniversary Celebration that TBA Global arranged in May 2009 was a whopper. Starting at Amway's firm’s Grand Rapids, MI, headquarters, 1,200 top achievers were feted with concerts by Sting, Wynton Marsalis, and LeAnn Rimes. There were several gala dinners and fireworks displays. Then, private jets transported them to Las Vegas, where 2,600 more qualifiers joined in for private performances by Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil, an emotional and technologically groundbreaking welcome from a hologram of late Amway founder Jay Van Andel, and a private concert by Elton John.

Subaru of America
Beginning last year, Subaru engaged Carlson Marketing to help with a comprehensive overhaul of its various standalone dealer training and sales incentive programs, bringing them all under the Subaru Foundation’s umbrella. Integrating sales and product training, gift cards, cash and group travel incentives, and recognition, it has more powerful and integrated yet simplified back-end reporting. Non-sales employees at dealers, like parts-and-service workers, were included, and all product training and communications were integrated. 

Recognition and Engagement 

For the 5,000 distribution-center employees of a pharmaceutical company like McKesson, employee engagement and defect-reduction programs can save lives. The Mpower online engagement program run by MotivAction provides 600 managers Spotlight Rewards points to award their employees for exceeding goals, participating in safety and training programs, and exhibiting behaviors that exemplify company principles.

Points are redeemable in a catalog of lifestyle merchandise awards, gift cards, and individual travel awards. Peer-recognition capabilities and manager training in recognition skills add to the mix.

Incentive house ITAGroup practiced what it preaches with "High Voltage Heroes," its internal comprehensive employee recognition program that covers everything from sales to traditional manager-down and peer-to-peer recognition programs, to wellness, training, referral, years of service, and team-building programs, among others. The points-based merchandise program used a superhero theme, with bright comic-book colors, a masked mascot, and energy bars and drinks given out at company events. Extensive electronic, paper, and live communications; promotional items like a hero mask attached to the program brochure; and special events like an Independence Day photo contest, for which digital picture frames were given out, added to the excitement. 

Rymax Marketing Services
Incentive merchandise manufacturers representative firm Rymax Marketing Services uses the brand-name merchandise awards it provides for other companies’ incentive programs for its own internal recognition program, aimed at employee engagement and retention and aligning behaviors with corporate goals. Its points-based "Be A Part of It" program—the theme stems from Rymax’s New York-area location and Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” tune—encompasses every aspect of employee engagement, including sales incentives, onboarding, peer recognition, spot recognition, training, years of service, and, more recently, wellness, among others. Specific goals are set by the company and by specific departments, and public recognition is emphasized. 

Incentive's 2010 Motivation Masters Awards winners will be revealed in December.