🎁I have always been a high mileage driver and like many drivers, I have my favourite fuel stations. ⛽

Back in the 80s I had a fuel account with a Texaco garage between my home and the office I was working in and would fill up around 3 times a week. 🚗

Every time I filled the car up, I would be asked if I collected the Stars 🌟 (those of a certain age will remember these!). My reply was always “No,” as I was unaware of why I should be collecting them. 

After using the service station for approx. 6 months one of the cashiers said to me: “If you had been collecting the ‘Stars’, you could have chosen anything from this catalogue for free!” 

“Catalogue! What catalogue? I knew nothing about a catalogue!!” 

I guess back in the day, ‘Reward’ programmes were still quite new and as a customer, I was not used to getting recognised for my loyal custom. 

…How times have changed! 

Now all the major retail outlets and many small independents have some form of Reward and Recognition programme for their customers, as they know that this helps create a loyal customer foundation and valuable repeat business. 

We, as purchasers, have also become accustomed to being rewarded for spending our hard-earned money and encouraged to buy more with discounts and incentives. 

For me, the ‘mindblower’ was when I saw the same Reward and Recognition principles of the retail world, appear in the commercial world too! 

… Do you remember them? 

One of the original ‘rewards’ in commercial environments used to be the classic Gold Watch ⌚ for long service and the Carriage Clock 🕰️ on retirement. 

Today some companies offer a Golden Handshake to new starters and incentives to employees who recommend successful candidates for job openings. 

Over the years we have seen employee benefits develop from long-service gifts and retirement merchandise to more varied and regular benefits, such as Luncheon Vouchers, Bupa Membership, Child Care Vouchers, Ride to Work and Car Allowance schemes. 

In the 90s, I worked for a business that gave the same gift to everyone on their birthday.

It started as a ‘nice to do,’ then after several months it became a bit of a joke, as we knew that a £20 bottle of Moet 🍾 was going to appear on our desk, which took the ‘surprise and delight’ out of the gift and didn’t make the recipient feel that special. 

This is why businesses should take the time to create personalised experiences and recognition, as by doing so they will create a culture of recognition that makes people feel valued. 

The result of personalised and valuable recognition programmes is that they create opportunities and a culture of appreciation, driving employee retention and higher employee satisfaction. 

Additionally, the proper Reward and Recognition programmes will create employee engagement and a culture of belonging. 

Thinking back to my experiences, I remember a car dealership 🚙 based in the Northwest that was quite notorious (within the Motor Group) for designing fun incentives for the Sales Department. These were usually run in the final month of every quarter. 

One I remember had the mechanics of the classic Deal or No Deal TV show.

The salesperson would earn a prize after selling an added product (Finance, GAP, Wheel protection etc.), they would then visit the Banker (Sales Manager) who had a brilliant Deal or No Deal mock-up box with a ‘mystery’ optional gift. 🎁

The salesperson had the choice of either accepting the ‘Reward/Prize’ they had chosen or gambling for a mystery gift that was in the Box!

This was a fun way to: 

A – Increase sales of other products and … 

B – Engage the whole sales team on a level playing field! 

This way the car dealership encouraged outstanding performances and created a culture of belonging and spontaneous engagement from their people. 

… Don’t forget who your audience is… 

What makes a BIG difference is when the programmes are created with people in mind, and respond to people’s needs and preferences, in Reward & Recognition, there is not such a thing as ‘One size fits all.’

In retail, recognise the customer by name, product, likes/dislikes etc… and in the commercial world recognise that everyone is different, with different motivations and drivers

When it comes to finding out what drives your team, a couple of motivators come into play:  Intrinsic and Extrinsic values. 

… Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Motivation: What’s the Difference? 

Kendra Cherry (Author, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist, and Educator) explains more. 

“Extrinsic motivational values are when we are motivated to perform a behaviour or engage in an activity because we want to earn a reward or recognition for, not because we enjoy it or because we find it satisfying, but because we expect to get something in return. 

As opposed to Intrinsic motivation, which is when you engage in a behaviour because you find it rewarding.

You are performing an activity for its own sake rather than from the desire for some external reward.

The behaviour/activity itself is its reward.” 

Finding the right balance between Extrinsic and Intrinsic Reward and Recognition programmes will help your business create more employee engagement and satisfaction, which will contribute to Employee Retention, Employee Performance, Company Culture and ROI. 


The Motivation Agency supports businesses in their Reward and Recognition journey, by creating high-impact, valuable solutions to ensure that investment in Reward and Recognition and incentive programmes delivers a measurable ROI.  

You can find out more here 

Hugh Lawson

Hugh Lawson

Learning and Development Trainer

An expert in behavioural change, Hugh has had a wide range of successes in coaching people over the last 20 years.

From working with UK household names such as Jardine Motors Group in the automotive sector and Shell in the petroleum industry to becoming a Coach for the British Waterski & Wakeboard Federation, Hugh has proven the effectiveness of great coaching more than once during his career.