If you’re new to the incentives and recognition scene, an incentives programme is a scheme or activity that a business implements to motivate and encourage employees to perform better, experience greater job satisfaction or meet specific goals.
Your incentive programme should be designed around the types of behaviours you want to reward and encourage in your business, providing a way for management and colleagues to acknowledge each other's successes and efforts.
Incentives, when used correctly of course, make workers feel valued. In fact, a study by a UK recruitment firm found that 85% of surveyed employees felt motivated to perform better when they were incentivised with rewards. Your scheme should focus on ways to encourage positive outcomes and above-and-beyond actions from your employees – that's the behaviour you should be looking to give high fives out for.
To outline what these behaviours should look like, your core values are the best place to start. By identifying the behaviours that reflect the values you want to encourage within your business, both managers, colleagues and individuals will have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and what should be rewarded.
Remember: Your core values should not just be created and forgotten, but embedded in everything you do, from recruitment all the way through to incentives.
It's not hard to see how the implementation of a carefully devised incentives scheme can help to improve your organisation's culture. It gives direction and purpose to each employee and helps to hyper-focus everyone on the big goals and targets your business needs to achieve.
So, if you're looking for some fresh ideas on how you can incentivise your employees and get measurable ROI, let’s get started...
1. Compensation incentives
Compensation incentives tend to cover some of the more basic incentive options. From performance-related bonuses, profit sharing schemes and stock options.
Another way to use this style of bonus is to tie it to an employee’s career progression. By working with each employee to create a career roadmap where they are able to see the steps and stages they need to reach to hit the next salary band/promotion.
2. Recognition incentives
If you’re concerned about budgets, you'll be pleased to know that there are several cost-effective ways to sincerely and authentically demonstrate appreciation for your staff.
In fact, it's often the simple gestures of gratitude that can be the most impactful because they’re direct and personal.
- Carve out a 'Thank You' culture: If you're already having regular business-related meetings, seize the opportunity of having the whole team together and give thanks where it's due. Or, if you'd like to turn this into an extra special event, make time for a dedicated 'Thank You' meeting where you recognise star performers and highlight the good work your staff have put in.
- Colleague kudos: We spend so much of our daily lives with our colleagues. Maintaining positive interactions with our peers in the work environment helps us to feel good about our jobs. Create a culture where colleagues are encouraged to commend each other's efforts, use internal publications to mention or nominate individuals who have gone the extra mile. These kinds of actions help to promote pride of work as well as a sense of community amongst employees.
- Put pen to paper: Sending a nice email is all well and good, but taking the time to create a handwritten note shows a little more care. A personalised note can hold significant meaning for an employee, often more impactful than a monetary reward.
- Shout out from customers: Your employees work hard to make your customers happy. When they do a great job of providing excellent customer experiences, it can be extremely encouraging to receive positive feedback from the customer. Enable your clients to nominate and recognise the employees in your organisations who excel at their jobs – this helps to keep the momentum and maintain high standards of service delivery.
Depending on your business size and needs, a recognition platform can be a powerful way for colleagues to give a pat on the back directly to another member of their team, reducing the admin time needed from the leadership and HR teams and providing a range of rewards that everyone will love.
3. Reward Incentives
The most common example of reward incentives is the old sales related bonuses. However, these can seem a little outdated, particularly in some industries. Intrinsically, you are motivating someone to meet sales quotas in the hope of receiving monetary gains.
But the success of your business doesn't hinge on that sale alone. What's more, if individuals are focused only on profit margins and targets, they may be tempted only to exploit low hanging fruit and leave massive portions of your target audience underserved.
The longevity of your business is determined by the overall service the customer receives from the first interaction with your brand all the way through their customer lifespan. From the marketing team that initially grabs their attention, through to the customer service desks, each area of the business is working hard to make your customers happy. So, shouldn’t you be taking care of them as well?
Instead, focus on giving meaningful rewards to everyone in your organisation. By introducing a system that allows for peer-to-peer referrals, colleagues can provide points that can be banked up and spent on anything from eVouchers, reloadable gift cards to physical gifts to not only improve their work life but their lives outside of work too.
4. Appreciation incentives
This style of incentives can include company parties, birthday celebrations, opportunity to go home early on a Friday, extra holiday, prizes, and regular team lunches are all great ways to encourage unity.
Create a social budget for each department that the leadership team can access throughout the year for team treats; no one wants to wait until the Christmas party to feel they’re appreciated by the line manager.
The power of strategic incentivisation
Incentive schemes are a great way to boost productivity and improve your company's profit margins. For them to be successful, however, they have to be supported by an influential corporate culture that applauds high performance.
By introducing a structured reward and recognition programme provides a way for larger organisations to create transparency across all departments. They provide excellent platforms through which you can spread the word about the aspirations you have for the business and how, by aligning with the company's core values, each employee can contribute to the overall success of the organisation.
Our recognition platform provides the technology that easily integrates with your business functions and allows you to engage employees through questionnaires and resources that support feedback as well as personal enrichment for each employee. Access to these insights allows you to demonstrate how incentives and rewards are contributing to a healthy working culture within your organisation.
Otherwise, you're simply spending money on rewarding individuals for doing the job you hired them to do in the first place.
Get the ball rolling in the right direction with our free culture-based employee rewards cheat sheet. Use this helpful document to review your current rewards a recognition strategy and learn how you can introduce improvements to your workplace culture through effective incentives.