Mobility as a Reward or Incentive?

Maggie had been working for a major global publishing company since she graduated last May, and she knew she was killing it in marketing. She was having a special 1:1 with her manager today (or so it said on the Outlook appointment from Josh—“SPECIAL 1:1!”). She stopped at Starbucks to pick up two celebratory pumpkin spice lattes and practically walked out of her vintage flats as she skipped into her building. 

She wheeled into Josh’s office at 8:59 and handed him the other PSL. “You’re the best!” Josh said. “In fact, that’s why we’re meeting today—because you really are the best. You’re doing amazing work, and we want to recognize it.” He pushed a shiny white gift bag over to her. Maggie separated the light blue tissue paper with shaking hands, and pulled out a card. “Oh my gosh! A work rotation in London? This is so great!” Maggie said. “I was so afraid it would be a bonus or stock options!” 

This scene is one that’s playing out in some companies today (sort of), and is primed for more traction in the future. Here’s why: We know that younger professionals crave experiences. After all, we’re living in an era where the word “bleisure” is entering our vocabulary (when employees combine business and leisure travel). According to a 2017 study by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, in the past year, millennials extended work trips for leisure at twice the rate of baby boomers and at a rate 15 percent higher than Gen X travelers. Imagine if rewards were experiences rather than financial remuneration. What if a short-term global assignment was incentive for meeting deliverables; or employers added a bleisure element to a business trip for executing a successful project on time and under budget? What if companies looked to mobility and leveraged it as a component of their rewards program? 

It sounds … well, rewarding. Think of the possibilities for innovative companies, which are already well-positioned to tap into existing mobility opportunities! Think of the Maggies they can delight, and the Joshes who will have more options to compensate exceptional employees! And though these kinds of incentives are terrific on their own, if they want to make it even better, they can always throw in a couple of pumpkin spice lattes.

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