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A mixed bag when it comes to incentive programs

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SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Workforce — tracks feedback from leading managers and HR practitioners. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Is your incentive program effective?

  • Somewhat — parts of it work, other parts don’t, 38%
  • We don’t have any incentive programs, 32%
  • Yes — our incentive program is generally effective, 15%
  • No — it doesn’t work at all, 14%

Am I a little bit cynical to believe that these numbers are still a little high in rating the effectiveness of incentive programs? Probably, but I often think a program that is seen as even somewhat effective is probably worse off than many in HR and management would like to believe. Probably what was more interesting was that nearly a third had no incentive program at all. I know these have been cut back but that still seems higher than I would expect.

Lance Haun is community director for, the main guy over at and a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board.