The Dream Machine

Author Dane Espegard, Ghostwritten with Kay Walker

The Dream Machine was an Amazon #1 Bestseller in multiple catergories and was published by Lioncrest Publishing

Chapter 7 Excerpt

Chapter 7: Corporate Contributions and Dream Incentives

A good friend of mine works for a billion-dollar company. She’s not in a C-level suite, but she does really well there. For Christmas her company gave her credits to spend on items in a corporate catalogue to recognize her for her hard work that year.

Now you would think a billion dollar company would reward its performers with things like a weekend for two at a luxury spa, an upbrand mountain bike, or gift cards to buy concert tickets, or even deluxe bedding. Something with a bit of a wow factor.

One day we sat there in front of her laptop, browsing through the branded items she could choose from. She was given a login to an online portal which housed a pre-selected gallery of items to spend her credits on. What popped up was: A desk clock. A laptop bag. An insulated to-go mug with a super grip (available in go-go green, punk pink or bright blue!) for the coffee she might bring on her commute. Of course, all the items were branded with the company logo.

She chose the desk clock. A compact “Made in China” desk clock, perhaps to count down the hours before she could bail from her job and work for a company that had a little more imagination.

Needless to say, when the clock was delivered, she showed it to me and we had quite a chuckle. But the laughter had an undertone of bitterness. It was a gesture that her company created this points process and online catalogue. I say gesture, and not a nice gesture or an awesome gesture. Someone in the company had rubber stamped the project thinking it was a good HR practice.  The deluxe desk clock is the new addition to this year’s Triple Diamond Incentive Catalogue. They’re going to love it!”

It probably cost thousands of dollars to plan and set up too. Sadly, this kind of “perk” went far beyond what so many large companies bother to do. It’s depressing.

She was a great employee, her company had made an effort to acknowledge her but in a way that seemed corporately self-interested. Many businesses do this. The corporate catalogue might have once seemed like a good idea to incentivize people to perform. Earn your credits! Get cool stuff! Let’s be honest, most people love to rack up an insane number of points in loyalty programs. You earn 1,000 points for every $100 you spend. It seems great. Eventually you get to 500,000 points. Yay you! But then you discover you qualify for one free night at an efficiency hotel chain. Free breakfast served in the lobby every day. De-luxe.

Some companies do it better. If they allocate a decent budget for employee incentives that they can use for travel destinations, or substantial gift card incentives, even fancy cars, in some cases. While it’s nice, it’s not uniquely shaped to what that person truly wants. Because you are a top performer, we are giving you a deluxe all expenses paid ski package in Aspen! Yeah, but I don’t ski. Oops.

A company might also incentivize an employee with funds for education. For instance, it might pay for a person to get their MBA. That is an incredible move on the part of any business. They’re hoping that investment will have a direct return.

A highly prized employee with serious credentials and skills will do more to move the company’s bottom line. Don’t get me wrong, it’s obviously great for the employee too.

Now consider what it’s like to receive any gift, at work or even in your personal life that is an item you were desperate for and had put on a personal list. You’ve probably experienced this before. Maybe at Christmas, so it’s probably not a stretch. One year your big get is a smart self-flying drone, something you’d never buy for yourself out of the family coffers, but a cool tech toy you’d love to have. Or maybe you said to your partner, “Don’t get me anything this year for my birthday. Let’s just book a two-night stay at the Ritz Carlton downtown.” And your spouse makes it happen. How awesome is that? You get exactly what you wanted. No effort on your part required besides sharing that you want it and being awesome in the relationship.

It’s amazing to get a gift that is on your list rather than picking something from a catalog. Any company with a dream planning process has a massive advantage. They can use corporate dollars to fulfill dreams which have a serious impact. It blows the corporate catalogue level of ROI out of the water.