How employee incentives can boost sales and customer support year-end performance

employee incentives

We’re almost in the fourth quarter of 2017 and it’s been a tough one for our economy. If you’ve been paying attention to the news, we’ve officially moved into a recession. Stats SA reported our economy to have shrunk by 0.7 percent. This marks the eighth recession we’ve experienced since 1961, with the longest having been from 1991-1992.

Stats SA


It’s around this time that most businesses need to perform at much higher levels to meet end-of-year revenue goals. It’s also a time when employee fatigue sets in. It’s not uncommon for businesses to demand more from their sales and customer support staff during this period as well.

While fatigue is a serious problem, it can be managed with the right amount of time off. Smart businesses give staff time off before the “crazy season” starts. As a measure, forcing staff to take paid leave works; it decreases the level of on the job stress and helps employees create much needed work-life balance.

Your staff aren’t the only ones experiencing fatigue. Customers are going through the same motions and demand higher quality service.  

But in times like these, where missed revenue goals are unforgivable, how do businesses produce better results at the end of a long year?

Using employee incentives to motivate consistent performance

The proof that well planned and executed employee incentive programmes produce results is compelling.

While conducting meta-analysis (analysis of existing, scientific research) into staff incentive programmes, Incentive Research Foundation found the following:

  • Incentive programmes help improve performance. If selected, implemented and monitored correctly, incentive programmes—with awards in the form of money or tangible awards—increase performance by an average of 22 percent. Team incentives can increase performance by as much as 44 percent.
  • Employee incentives engage participants. Research found that incentive programmes can increase interest in work. When programmes are first offered for completing a task, a 15 percent increase in performance occurs. Asked to persist towards a goal, people increase their performance by 27 percent when motivated by incentive programmes. When incentive programmes are used to encourage “thinking smarter”, performance increases by 26 percent.
  • Incentive programmes attract quality employees. Organisations that offer properly-structured incentive programmes can attract and retain higher quality workers than other organisations.
  • Longer-term programmes outperform short-term programmes. A study found that incentive programmes that run for a year or more produced an average performance increase of 44 percent, while programmes running six months or less showed a 30 percent increase. Programmes of a week or less yielded a mere 20 percent boost.

Producing an effective incentive programme takes a bit of elbow grease, but it can be done. If you’re looking for ways to get your sales and customer support teams to produce their best work before the year is over, here are 6 tips on how to do so:

  1. Find the metrics that require the most attention. All businesses rely on KPIs, but not all KPIs are weighted correctly. Determine which metrics, if elevated, would make a considerable difference in your bottom line.
  1. Establish the problem. With the metrics in hand, it’s time to figure out why your staff are not achieving the metric. Understanding whether it’s a people or process issue helps you determine if specific behaviour should be tied to an incentive.
  1. Establish the reward value. Rewards must be enticing enough for your employees. Make sure you know what they deem to be sufficiently valuable in order to put extra effort into their work.
  1. Put on your marketing hat. You’ll need to market your programme internally to make it stick. Create a marketing plan that involves posters, regular emails about the rewards and, most importantly, take every opportunity to share the news of any staff who receive rewards.
  1. Look out for stragglers. Sales reps tend to sandbag deals for two reasons: 1) they’ve reached their quota and want to get a rolling start in the next quarter, and 2) they are too far off from achieving their target in the short term and therefore opt to hold onto a deal until the new year.

In either case, make sure that you incentivise your team to keep pushing to the very end.

  1. Perform an act of goodwill to prove the system is ready to reward. In organisations where employees feel underappreciated (openly or privately), rolling out a new incentive programme will be met with resistance. One way to cut through the resistance is by showing your team that the programme is real with a payout to all reps.

Assign a small portion of your budget, possibly enough for each employee to treat themselves to a reward. This act alone proves that you’re serious about incentivising your team and that they can experience more rewards by participating.

TuYu offers mobile cash rewards that can be issued directly to each employee’s phone within a matter of seconds. Staff can spend their mobile rewards at over 70,000 till lanes across SA.





Generating the best results for your business towards the end of a year can be challenging. Customers demand better quality service while staff feeling underappreciated are less likely to perform their jobs with high levels of enthusiasm. Introducing a well-planned employee incentives can help you drive the right behaviours to meet end-of-year revenue goals and keep customers satisfied.

How you can drive higher performance with TuYu Mobile Cash Rewards

TuYu offers companies a streamlined, innovative way to reward consumers and staff instantly, ensuring a quick turnaround time between qualifying for a reward and being rewarded appropriately. Rewards are redeemed in-store at 70,000+ till lanes, using your mobile phone.

Call us on 021 812 1495/6 to discuss your employee incentive programme goals.