Studies indicate that only about one-third of employees care about their work. So what can companies do to improve employee productivity, engagement, and retention?  A new study from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) offers practical tips on how to motivate employee performance – and also challenges a few long-held beliefs about what drives productivity.  Here’s a hint: Money is not the best performance incentive.

Behavioral Economics & Employee Performance: What’s the Connection?

Celebrity cruise ship Sunset Bar

Traditional Economics states that “people act rationally and in their best interests when making decisions”. The IRF White Paper, “How to Effectively Harness Behavioral Economics to Drive Employee Performance and Engagement” presents more compelling insights into how we make decisions.

According to Behavioral Economics, 70% of human decision-making is emotional, as opposed to rational. This is a critical tool to help employers understand what actually motivates employees and why some incentives are more effective than others.

Three Takeaways to Motivate Employee Performance:

Type of Incentive: Look beyond monetary rewards. Travel programs offering new experiences appeal to more than two-thirds of an IRF survey’s respondents over the cash equivalents.

Emotional Impact:  Incentive programs that are emotionally compelling are remembered longer, create brand loyalty, and produce better ROI through employee performance.

Personalization: The generic, one-size-fits-all incentive model is outdated. Companies must incorporate creativity and personalization (based upon what the interests of the individual and his or her peer group) into recognition programs.

One Proven Way to Motivate Performance

Oceania ship in Portofino Italy

Offer a cruise! Using a cruise ship for your incentive, reward, or recognition program checks all the motivation boxes:

🗹 New experiences – A cruise offers authentic, immersive travel experiences in multiple destinations (with convenience of only having to pack/unpack once). New and unique experiences await, both on board the ship and in port.

🗹 Emotionally compelling – Nothing quite stirs the soul like travel – especially when the adventure is shared with others. Being at sea “all in the same boat” creates lasting bonds and memories.

🗹 Personalized to them – Cruise ships offer a variety of entertainment and dining venues, open-air sports decks, interactive classes & enrichment programs, Spa & fitness facilities, and more. No matter what their age or interests, your attendees are sure to find it on a ship – not to mention ashore!

Learn More About Incentive Cruises

To learn more about cruise incentives and recognition programs, please give us a call at 305-661-1880, send an email to, or request a group or charter quote.