Some findings from the first three CARS studies (which covered a total of 1.3 million employees) include the following:
- Plans are installed to improve business performance through people, rather than to "attract and retain" employees
- Payouts are modest, with a median of about 3% of base pay.
- Plans reporting more intensive communications, feedback and involvement also report lower payouts. An employee treated as a valued asset and involved in the process of performance improvement does not require as much direct financial reward as one who is not.
- At median, the organizations studied gained $2.34 (in performance improvements) for every dollar they spent on incentive payouts; thus a close approximation of net plan ROI is 134%.
- Plans are more successful if they have management support at all levels - including first line supervisors.
- Plans are more successful when they are regularly reassessed to stay current with business strategy.