February 6, 2023

The Hirewell Hot Corner: Pro Bowl/Incentive Trips


Episode Highlights

Incentive Trip as a Main Goal


Achieving Incentive Goals from a Recruiter's Perspective


Why Should Companies Offer Incentives to Employees?


How Smaller Companies/Teams Can Incentivize Their Employees


Non-Financial Incentives for Employees


Two-Minute Drill


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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie dive into the topic of Incentive Trips. We dive into what it can do for culture, how it can set you apart from other companies, and how companies can fairly adjust the competition so everyone has a chance to make the trip no matter the department. We segway the topic by comparing it to the Pro Bowl that is coming up and why getting to the Pro Bowl doesn’t always mean you had an All-Star year.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner, where sports and recruitment meet. I am your host, Dan Spittel, joined as always by my co-host Louie Morici. Louie, great to see you again. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today?

Lots going on in my world. Not from the sports standpoint. Either my teams are no longer playing or they just stink and there’s no point in watching them. But personally, coming in live from my new office and my new home, so lots of-

lots going on. I like that we’re matching our backgrounds now with the walls. Great views. That was on purpose. That was on purpose. Absolutely. Perfect.

Well, what’s going on in the world of sports today, Louie? Well, NFL. Got two teams going to the Super Bowl, I believe we got the Chiefs and the Eagles, so congrats to them. going to duke it out in Arizona, in a couple weeks. And on top of that, on the theme of football, well we have the Pro Bowl. Which I have my opinions on. Well, we kind of have the Pro Bowl. I would love to hear your opinions on the Pro Bowl, Louie.

It’s an empty award. I mean, it’s one of those things like people get drafted or voted in or whatever the case is. Half of ’em don’t go, half of ’em are in the Super Bowl. Then they bring in guys, you know, like Huntley, like what?

He’s a second string quarterback that’s not very good, that gets voted in. You know, good for him, like but it’s just like-

it’s a waste of time. Like it’s not even entertaining from a fan standpoint. Well that, and they changed the game now. They’re doing like a more of the skills competition. They made it a flag football game.

To be fair, nobody was really tackling anyway, because why would you risk injury if you’re playing in a game that has no meaning? Tyler Huntley is a starting quarterback. Derek Carr is one of the other quarterbacks. He got benched at the end of the season. That’s not his own fault. I think he still had a fine season.

The Raiders just make questionable decisions. But all around, it’s just a weird feeling of the Pro Bowl this year. The highlight is that the Manning brothers are coaching it. And that’s the highlight of it. Yeah. I mean, I’ll tune in. I think they’re funny. They do their simulcast with the actual game on, is it Monday nights? I think it is. It’s just like, it’s entertaining. They’re funny. They have good banter. I mean, I get-

they’re going to do everything they can to get fans involved, but like, it’s-

I will say this. When I was younger, obviously it was really cool just across the board with all-star games. Like I used to love the Home Run Derby. NHL All-Star Game. You’d get to see Wayne Gretzky play with Mario Lemieux. They’ve done away and now it’s three on three. It’s just like, they try and change things too much and now it just kind of sucks altogether. I have clearly very strong opinions on this.

They’ve changed them all. Maybe the dunk competition’s the one good one that’s left out there, but. Yes. Well, and then you got to look at it from these players who are negotiating contracts, free agency, whatever that may be. I don’t know if it’s still a thing, but at one point, getting Pro Bowl nominations was an incentive built into contracts.

Just like playing a percentage of snaps, teams making the playoffs, getting a certain number of stats. How do you deal with an incentive package? If you’re Tyler Huntley and you have that incentive in your contract, great. Good for you, man. You’ve started five games and you’ve just got an incentive for basically doing nothing.

But I got to assume they start removing those if they haven’t already from contract negotiations. Heck yeah. I mean, like again, yeah, good for the players that shouldn’t be there, who are not All-Star caliber by what we would consider definition. But good to them forgetting the extra bump and pay for the bonus.

But it seems like 60% of the league either gets voted in or is a replacement player. I just think if you’re a general manager creating contracts for players that, unless you’re Lamar Jackson, or if you’re one of the guys that is considered an All-Star in this league, you might have those. But aside from that, like it-

it is just something that I think is going to be left out. It’s a fun trip to Arizona for some people this year, I guess. Yeah. Yeah. But I mean, they have plenty of other kickers. Like not kickers as in kicking in football, but like other bonuses that they have available to them as far as actual performance on the field.

So let that speak to the extra money they make. Sure. Well, let’s flip the script. Let’s talk about incentive trips, company incentives, from football players. Do you get it from those various bonuses? Making the Pro Bowl maybe is one of ’em at this point. But company incentives for performance, incentive trips are a big thing in a lot of industries.

Yes. Yes. And some places call ’em just the Senate trips. Others call ’em like President’s Club or, they have all these creative names and whatnot. But I think they’re great. And they actually, for the most part, and the experiences I’ve had, they do mean something. You’ve hit goals that are not easily attainable.

But they are put in place based on metrics and grow that goal based on history of how many people hit it. They want it to be special. And once you’re on those trips usually it’s somewhere, I’m going to say exotic. Like for Hirewell, we’re going to Scottsdale. Scottsdale’s awesome.

But, you know, nice hotel dinner, some stipend on a daily basis. Like it’s a great setup and it’s a good reward for a job well done. I mean, and it pushes people, like if some people have goals. Goals are great. And I put it on my goal sheet incentive trip. There’s things that go into that, but if you’re not seeing something or if you’re not motivated by anything, let an incentive trip motivate you. There should be others, but it’s at least something to push every day for. Yep.

Before we dive into the motivation behind the whatnot, let’s dial back into the Hirewell one. Cause I know that you’re going on the incentive trip this next year. So congratulations to you for making that for the first time, in your second year with Hirewell. Hopefully I can run it back with you next year and we’ll hang out together. But let’s talk a little more about what it took for you to achieve that and what you get for doing it. Yeah, no, definitely, definitely. So what it takes, I mean, there is those laws. It’s a tough business for it. Recruiting is-

it’s challenging. We are in the business of people. Probably the most unpredictable, quote unquote “product” that can be sold or pitched or relied upon even. It’s tough. So it takes a lot of patience, a lot of perseverance. The work you put in on Monday doesn’t always show on Friday, but in a month and a Friday from then, it very well could.

It’s being patient. And that’s something personally I’ve struggled with in personal life, my business career. Those are some of the attributes. And, the reward is again, a trip to Arizona, Scottsdale. I’m going to play golf, I’m going to hang out with coworkers, probably, maybe definitely going to have a few drinks. It’s going to be a good time. Probably. Maybe. Definitely. Nice. Yeah that’s fantastic. But, we talk about-

in a lot of previous episodes, we talked about competition. We’ve talked about companies and employees preparing for hitting goals, making goals.

We just talked about the athlete mentality and those types of motivation drive, persistence, things that you just talked about. This is kind of that culminating factor potentially at the end of all of those components put together in a successful year leads you to this trip. Or this incentive. Or whatever companies do.

Maybe it’s from a bonus standpoint or something along those lines. And like you said, it’s something to look forward to. It’s something to put on your goal sheet moving forward that this is my plan, this is what I’m going to hit for that year. Let’s throw it onto, not just you as an individual going on this incentive trip, but let’s talk about what it can do for a company as a whole to offer these types of things.

What do they gain from offering an incentive trip like this or some big reward on a yearly basis to their top earning and top performing employees. Well, it’s great to build your brand recognition. And again, you stemmed on it like competition. Candidates are considering many roles all at once, like when they’re interviewing for the most part.

And this could be something that sticks out and not only the incentive trip as a whole, you get content, you get people just enjoying the business and telling other folks about it if you’re like a referral. Like, I go on this trip, I’m going to tell someone that wants to work for Hirewell.

We had an incentive trip. It was awesome. Like, it builds the brand and it shows like it’s a place that cares about its employees. The folks that are reaching these goals that are set, they’re rewarding those folks. And most people want to feel that if they’re going above and beyond and doing what is necessary and then some, it doesn’t go unnoticed. And let’s face it, recognition. Some people thrive on it. Others, if it’s money, whatever. But, it’s nice to be recognized amongst your peers that you hit a certain goal and you’re getting rewarded when maybe there’s people that didn’t and aren’t getting rewarded.

Back to your question, I think it helps build brand and just overall employee happiness and helps you stick out from a competitive standpoint compared to other companies. Yeah. And I think the actual piece of the trip from a culture standpoint is probably a great boost to that employee group who does attain that.

We talk about company culture, we talk about ways that you can improve your culture, ways that you can engage your employees. I don’t think anything’s better than being able to engage both from a professional standpoint, but a personal standpoint, in a shared success, something like this.

We got together a couple times last year. Hirewell in Chicago, always a great time. A lot of business to be done, a lot we achieve. But we also celebrate the successes and we take the time to get to know each other on more of a personal level, build that relationship and just kind of get together and really break down, have fun.

And it really does fuel us moving forward for the rest of the year, the rest of the quarter, whatever that may look like. This is something that maybe it establishes that long term goal. Maybe it keeps people focused. Maybe they want to do it because of the personal aspect that comes with it, not just the trip itself.

So a lot of different motivations, a lot of different motives for people who are trying to achieve that. And it’s not just tied to incentive based. It’s not just tied to revenue producing roles, not just tied to hitting key numbers. Sometimes it really just depends on the company. Obviously with your focus more on the sales side, it’s about hitting numbers, typically.

For us it can be about hitting numbers. But in my role specifically, it’s not just a number to hit, which has been nice. Working on the on-demand side, we’re on contracts with clients and we’re working mainly with one client at a time. While I really like the work that I do, it doesn’t necessarily translate to these larger months with bigger numbers you’re hitting on a month to month basis, but it’s consistent.

And so Hirewell has actually built out a process where I can achieve this incentive, just like you can, but through a different avenue because we do different work in some capacity. Yeah. And I can kind of relate to that.

And my previous company, 95% of the employees were salespeople. So the President’s Club was all designed for salespeople hitting metrics every month consistently. All that. I was in recruiting there. So I didn’t have the same metrics, I wasn’t held with the same standards, but they didn’t give me a chance to do that. To flip it to now with you, Hirewell understands, okay, well we want everyone to have incentive. Whether it’s an A, B, or C role in your case, they’re like, well how does this success look? What should Dan have to do to get on an incentive trip? And it incentivizes you. I mean, that’s exactly what it’s for. That’s why it’s called that.

So, it’s also from a fairness standpoint and not just saying, “Hey, this is the plan.” It’s actually caring about designing it for everyone to be inspired to hit these goals. And it does show, you have to do this. Majority of our company that are dedicated to like specific, like our F and A team, marketing, tech. Me in sales, it was 250K in gross profit.

That’s how we would attain the goal, or above. I think that was established 10 years ago and actually, this year they’ve bumped it to 275K, is what’s needed at the minimum to be on the trip. And still, I mean if you look at our company, I think quite a few hit that. But, they want to make sure it feels special if half the company gets to go on it. It’s a nice thing to have. But again, it’s not incentivizing your overachievers or those people that aren’t just satisfied.

So I think Hirewell’s done a phenomenal job. Granted I’ve been here for just shy of two years, one complete calendar year. And I think it’s not just something that they look at, as a cost. They actually care about what this trip does. And they want people to make it. It’s a win-win for everyone.

But I think it’s great how they’ve adapted it so the on-demand team can achieve goals that they can control in some sense. I’m absolutely very, very happy about it. And of course, we like to talk about the pros of Hirewell a lot and we don’t typically talk about cons.

There aren’t really. At least in our opinions. But it’s always nice to highlight the ways that we continue to change and innovate and adapt to the needs of the employees and the teams. But you mentioned cost. That’s a big one. Let’s talk about potentially smaller companies, less employees.

Maybe you can’t afford to take your employees on some lavish incentive trip. What can you do to incentivize your employees if you can’t get to maybe that level? It doesn’t always have to be a trip of some sort. It could be monetary bonus. I mean, anything that isn’t insulting. Like a $50 gift card to Chili’s after you close 250K to goal or something, or 250% to goal.

Yeah, that’s probably more insulting than it is rewarding. It’s really just showing that you value them. So whatever it is that you can do to establish that, it goes so far. It makes that person incentivized to do it again the next year. And the next year.

Smaller companies, yeah, they’re not going to have a hundred thousand to shell out for 35 people plus, and to go on these trips. So, what can be done? I think it has to be within your means, but there are definitely ways to motivate and inspire folks to go above and beyond what you’re asking.

I’m not saying a pizza party for like your employees is not motivation, but it shouldn’t be the end incentive. It should be the early motivation to push them towards that end goal. Nobody’s going to turn down a gift card, but that’s not the full thing. You know?

That shouldn’t be “Oh wow. You achieved $200,000 in sales this year. Have a gift card, have a pizza party.” Don’t get it wrong. If it’s a Chili’s, gift cards are great. But if it’s because I had the most sales in one week, that seems in correlation with a $50 Chili’s gift card. But if it’s the entire year that you’ve worked and you get that, it’s more of a slap in the face, in my opinion.

I’m not the teller of all. Sure. And there are other ways to handle recognition for employees that don’t have to be solely monetary. Recognition on a company basis, on a team basis in any form is generally appreciated. That shouldn’t be your be all end all, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show somebody recognition or appreciation for having a good week or a good month as a pit stop on the way to the end goal of incentivizing your employees to handle success. A thousand percent. Promotion, recognizing them that way. Giving them more responsibility and the title change. Some people are very driven by that. Going from a director to a C-suite. Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Financial Officer, whatever it is. Taking that step up. It means a lot. And it does in the industries that people work in. So that’s one way that may be not from monetary. Usually does come with the pay bump, but the whole responsibility aspect and maybe having some direct reports where you didn’t have any before, that shows that they trust you.

A lot of that establishes loyalty to you because they’re putting responsibilities on you that are huge impacts on the company long term and short term. So just to give an idea of something maybe outside of just strict, “Hey, here’s a bonus.” Absolutely. There’s so many different ways that you can become creative with this stuff, and there’s so many avenues.

I think it really boils down to employee appreciation, recognition, showing that you care, showing that it’s not just a numbers thing. All right, good job. Keep doing your job. You got to give ’em something. So, totally agree. Louie two minute drill. Take us home. I think it’s really about, from a company standpoint, it helps keep you competitive and a very competitive market. And it helps build company morale. And usually when those things are at an all time high or at a high, you’re going to get employees that feel that get caught up in it, and are going to push. Push the envelope and go beyond what you’re asking them. So yeah, control what you can. There is an end goal every year if your company has something like this in play or if they don’t. But, you know, be motivated.

It really can pay off. And you get to have some fun usually at the end of it. Yeah. From a candidate standpoint, it’s a popular sports term bulletin board material. On my bulletin board, I have my goals for this year. It includes the incentive trip from our end. So, from a candidate standpoint keep reminding yourself what your goal is, why you’re trying to do things, and just stay hungry.

And stay consistent. And if your company isn’t one that does a lot with incentives or recognition, reach out to your manager. Reach out to your HR people. They’re looking for ways to improve employee engagement and employee culture all the time. Whether or not they explicitly tell you that, it’s never a bad thing to reach out and say, “Hey, we can do better. Let’s talk about ways to do better.”

Yeah. Yeah. The carrot and the stick analogy, it works. It’s motivating to keep pushing forward essentially is the message there. And give employees a carrot. For sure. That’s attainable. I don’t want that to-

because I’m pretty sure that’s not attainable in that analogy. Of course, just keeps walking, but.

Sure. If anyone from the NFL is watching, we will expect both of our Pro Bowl invitations in the mail anytime now. I think we probably stand a decent chance at this point. Back up water boy here. I mean, I can do that all day. Something, I don’t know. We’ll find spot. They’ll find something for us.

But, Louie, appreciate your time as always. Always a pleasure with these wonderful sports banters. On behalf of Louie and myself, thank you again, for tuning into the Hirewell Hot Corner. Please do join us again in two weeks for our next installment. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn.

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