On average, 18% of UK employees move jobs each year. With the cost of recruitment and associated loss of productivity, incentive schemes which recognise a job well done and show employees that their hard work is appreciated can boost morale and therefore reduce staff turnover. Incentives, if done correctly, can also add to company profits by increasing sales and improving customer service. Staff incentives are also a nice way of giving something back and simply saying thank you.
So how do you ensure that staff are fully motivated to deliver great work and go the extra mile?
1. Who are you incentivising?
Incentive programmes were once associated with sales, but such programmes have now grown to include all employees whose work has an impact on overall company performance, even if they don’t come into direct contact with customers.
2. Avoid cash incentives
Cash incentives can be confused with salary and bonuses and tend to disappear into employees pockets; as such employees tend not to treat themselves with a cash incentive. Cash fails to generate a lasting memory in the way that a well-chosen gift or experience can.
3. Choose the right rewards
Tailor your rewards to suit the participant. Avoid cash as mentioned above, but vouchers could be a good alternative (and cost-effective if you buy them in bulk). For on-going schemes, points-based rewards can be redeemed against a choice of prizes and even low-level rewards can build up to something like a holiday over a period of time. Or you could consider bespoke merchandise, events, or experience vouchers. Try and offer a variety of rewards suited to the individual and keep it fresh by changing the rewards offered each year.
4. Make expectations clear
For any programme to be successful, participants need to understand what they have to do to be rewarded, how they will be measured, and what they will receive for achieving their goals.
5. Communicate effectively to increase engagement
Create a buzz around the programme by communicating pre-launch and during the incentive programme for maximum engagement levels. Use emails, team briefings and marketing collateral such as posters in staff areas. SMS/Skype can be used for virtual employees to ensure they feel part of the team. Presentations of awards won not only give a sense of pride for the recipient, but demonstrate that the goals are achievable and encourage other colleagues to participate.
6. Create relevant, measurable and achievable goals
Individual incentive goals should be aligned with overall company strategies. Clear objectives and measures need to be put in place and communicated so that everyone knows what is expected of them and how they can achieve their goals. Performance goals should be challenging yet achievable, otherwise the incentive might have the opposite effect and become de-motivating.
7. Track and publish progress
Report on performance regularly and promptly so that participants can see what they need to do to earn rewards. By measuring pre-incentive performance levels, the effectiveness of the programme can be compared with post-incentive levels and the organisation will therefore see the positive impact on the business.
Staff incentives are a great way to retain staff and ensure they remain focussed and motivated. What are your thoughts on staff incentive schemes? Do you have one in place and if so, what works for you?