Their plan was simple and elegant: first they ranked their 60 retail districts according to previous sales, then divided them into two groups of equal performance and assigned one group to receive monetary incentives and the other to receive tangible incentives of a value equal to the first group.
The results were very interesting; it turned out that the tangible-reward group increased sales by 46% more than the monetary-reward group. They also improved in terms of the mix of products sold by 37%.Tangible-reward increased sales by 46% more than the monetary-rewards. They also improved the mix of products sold by 37% Click To Tweet
One explanation, and which may be a fairly good one, is that we can visualize tangible rewards (imagine yourself on a Hawaiian beach), which creates an emotional response. Money, on the other hand, is not accompanied by images as often (aside from maybe Scrooge McDuck swimming in piles of it), and lacks the emotional pull that tangible rewards have, so they’re less effective in motivating employees. I guess it’s called “cold, hard cash” rather than “future beach vacation cash” for a reason.
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