Company vision and values are the foundation of any business. Without these elements to unite every action, a business will meander about aimlessly. But how do these core values relate to employees, the ones doing the ground work? Every individual has their own values and reasons for doing what they do—what if their values are different from those of the company? It’s great if your salespeople meet their quota, for example, but it isn’t good if they make their quota by using practices incompatible with your company values. This raises an important question: how can you ensure that your incentives sustain behaviors and culture that align with your company values?

Know Your Values—And Make Them Known

Your company vision and values should be at the forefront of everything you do, from hiring and firing to sales strategies and incentive programs. If the people at the top of the chain of command aren’t clear about what those values are, they certainly shouldn’t expect others to know. Good leaders lead by example; an employee should be able to observe their management and see the company vision and values lived out. People participating in your incentive program should be able to see the values that led to the program’s creation, as well as the values that determined the way the program works.

Furthermore, hiring practices should always be tied to the company vision. If you say your company values teamwork and camaraderie, don’t hire lone wolves who will fight to win with no regard for others. Hire people who resonate with your values, and make sure they have a clear understanding of what those values are driving your organization. Not only that, don’t give people the opportunity to forget or ignore the company values. These principles aren’t merely in place for new hires; every employee, regardless of the length of their employment, should keep these values front and center. When your incentive program begins, remind participants of your company’s core principles and make it clear that these principles should shape their participation.

Shape Affirmation and Discipline With Your Value System

It isn’t enough to clearly state your values, however. You must also continue to uphold your core principles, and one of the best ways to do that is by affirming those who model your values best. If you prize teamwork, publicly praise team players. If you value integrity, praise the participants who won’t cut corners in their efforts to win your incentive program.

On the flip side of this, it’s important to tie any discipline to your company values. The employee cutting corners in their efforts to win should not be allowed to perpetuate this behavior. If your values matter, there should be consequences for operating in a manner inconsistent with those values. This isn’t to say that you need to do something drastic, however—often what an employee needs most is guidance. They may need you to show them ways to pursue success without sacrificing the company vision.  The easiest way for you to do this is if you are seen publicly highlighting and praising individuals who operate according to company values. Then, privately, work with those who aren’t complying with the company’s vision by providing feedback, mentoring, and retraining.

Similarly, employees need leaders who lead by example. If your company says it values balance, and you therefore don’t want employees working 80 hours a week and missing out on important family events, you shouldn’t be working 80 hours a week and missing your daughter’s lacrosse games. If you want your employees to uphold your company values in their efforts to succeed, they need to see leadership uphold these values in their own jobs.

Create Rewards That Support Your Values

This is the fun part, and it’s especially applicable to travel incentives. Your values can shape the nature of your reward! If your company values balance, or life/work integration, and believes that every employee should be able to successfully juggle work and recreation, then make your travel reward a blend of professional and recreational opportunities. If your company is dedicated to health and wellness, incorporate outdoor activities, exercise, or spa time into your incentive reward. Similarly, a company that exists to give customers customization and freedom of choice should give employees some freedom during their travel experience. Companies that value diversity can use a travel incentive to send winners to a new destination where they can learn about another culture. Your reward shouldn’t be something that allows winners to escape company values—it should be something that upholds those values.


Few things are more rewarding for a leader than watching the people they lead succeed. Incentive programs are a great way to achieve this success, but these programs can also help promote and maintain company values. If your employees can reach their goals in ways that uphold your core principles, that’s when you know you’ve succeeded.

Planning a travel incentive program?  Contact Gavel International to learn more about how we can help ensure your program runs smoothly and maximizes your budget.