January 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Incentive News

IN THE WAKE OF CUTS, MOTIVATION A HIGH PRIORITY Incentives Back at Lucent Image
Lucent's headquarters in Murray Hill, N.J. After shying away from travel programs for the past two years, Lucent Technologies, the Murray Hill, N.J.-based technology firm, has reinstated a formal sales incentive. The move comes at a challenging time for the company, which is grappling with an enduring market slump, questions about its accounting practices and massive layoffs, including the latest wave of 10,000 cuts announced in October.

According to global sales recognition manager Cindy Gardner, the decision to plan an incentive trip was intended to boost the morale of the remaining staff.

“In the past couple of years, winners got an award plaque, and we put the program at bay,” Gardner said. But now, “We’re bringing it back. Even in the toughest times, you’ve got to take care of your top performers.”

The resources necessary to fund the program gave some executives pause, Gardner said, but Lucent’s higher-ups decided it would cost more in the long run if dispirited employees left for greener pastures, so they gave Gardner the green light to create an incentive event, albeit on a more spartan scale than the firm had done in the past.

The four-day trip is set for March 2003 in a domestic resort that had not been revealed to participants as of press time. It will be one day shorter and less lavish than prior programs.

“It’s still our top two percent [of winners], but of a much smaller whole,” Gardner explained. Some high-end touches used in past programs, like headline entertainers and expensive room gifts, will be eschewed to keep the budget in line.

MARTHA COOKE

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