I was poking around the Snowfly blog and found a blog post that was written in 2016, well before my involvement in Snowfly. By this time I knew Darrin and Eli, but I didn’t quite know what they did, or what Snowfly was.

This post provides a very interesting, even a key, to how they think, and why Snowfly Incentives and Rewards work as well as they do. It also provides insight into why the Snowfly Performance system is so effective.

Motivation Research: Expecting Rapid Feedback Enhances Performance

I am reminded of some of the big trips my family has taken. And by big trips, I don’t mean expensive vacations to Europe or some theme park, I’m talking about cross country driving, staying at campgrounds, and exploring historical sites. When my wife and I plan these trips we talk about what we’ll do, where we’ll stay, who we’ll visit, and other key points, for weeks. Now, that doesn’t touch on the “rapid feedback” part of the study, but it definitely addresses the title of the study from that blog post: Motivation by Anticipation.

Snowfly Incentives Rewards AnticipationInstead of surprising our kids with a big trip, and immediately going on the trip, we build up anticipation. We talk about it, creating and sharing a vision of how great it will be. I think that anticipation and vision helps take the sting out of long, boring car rides (you can drive for days and still feel like you are in corn fields). Sometimes I wonder if the anticipation build up is more powerful than the actual event!

The other part of the study is “rapid feedback.” Imagine these two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Congratulations on a job well done! Here is $100 as a thank you reward!

Scenario 2: Congratulations on a job well done! We’ll add $100 to your next paycheck, but you’ll have taxes taken out, of course.

There’s something special that happens when you give a hundred bucks to someone immediately. They trust you. The immediate reward reinforces their trust in your reward system. They want more, and tie this reward to the behavior you are rewarding. This might seem obvious, but compare that to the second scenario where they have to wait for two weeks, then see only $90 (because of taxes). That is kind of lame… they don’t see or feel a full reward. And, honestly, a lot can happen in two weeks. Tying their positive behavior/actions to a reward is hard to do because maybe in those two weeks they had a stern conversation with a boss, or a tough moment with a customer or colleague. Sure they get $90, but what was it for? I can’t remember…

There is power in immediate rewards. Whether that is through points or tokens, or an Amazon gift card or a rechargeable debit card, getting reward immediately reaches into our brain and makes us think:


And then, guess what? Immediate rewards create anticipation!┬áThose powerful feeling I was talking about with our family trips… creating a vision of what could be. We anticipate that when we do things well, go above and beyond, or whatever we got rewarded for before, that it could happen again. We don’t always do things for rewards, but the idea that we could have a reward is, well, rewarding.

This type of incentives and rewards system creates a culture of appreciation and recognition. When done well, it encourages others to celebrate one another’s wins (instead of being too competitive and jealous). Consistency in immediacy over time solidifies the culture you want, where employee satisfaction goes up, employee performance increases, and retention becomes a non-issue.

We geek out over this stuff because it works. It is supported by studies and we’ve seen great success with our clients who build this into their rewards program.

Want to know more of our secret sauce? We love to brag about it… let’s get on a demo!

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Jason Alba

Jason Alba

I'm passionate about building great cultures. I love respect in the workforce, especially respect that is earned. I love strategic management, leadership, and vision. I love healthy companies through profitability. I love employee engagement, employee performance, and employee satisfaction. I love how Snowfly can help YOUR organization work towards all of these things.

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