The best incentive schemes are a combination of reward, recognition and real-time feedback.
- Reward is about the financial element – but encompasses more than just cash.
Try to think of alternatives, for example many people will be incentivised by winning a half day holiday.
If you have no budget at all then use, for example packets of Starbursts for ‘star performers’, or a packets of M&Ms for ‘Magnificent & Marvellous’ work.
If you have a budget then brainstorm ideas. Get input and ideas from the people who you are planning to incentivise (and their managers).
- Recognition is the most powerful motivation force. It is about staff knowing that they are doing a good job and feeling valued as a result.
Take ComXo for example. They use a simple ‘Thank You’ board, themed around Cadbury’s Heroes.
Anyone in the company can pin up a personal thank you to another member of staff.
Every month a winner is drawn.
All winners are displayed on the wall, and win a box of Cadbury’s Heroes.
To make this more fun all agents have a super hero alias and all nominations are delivered under these aliases.
- Real-time feedback
This provides information to individuals and teams so that they know how they are performing and what rewards are available if they raise their game.
Often a simple company-wide email saying ‘well done’, ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ to an individual or team is sufficient reward to significantly boost on-going performance.
10 steps to setting up an incentive programme
- Identify the scheme's objectives.
- Consult with staff representatives and relevant managers.
This will help to:
- Structure the programme
- Relate the scheme to the business' remuneration system.
- Consider whether the incentive should be non-financial or financial.
- Think about how the proposed incentive will relate to other cash benefits
- Agree how much administration will be needed.
- Examine the legal issues of staff incentives.
- Ensure that the planned scheme is competitive.
Look at similar schemes within other businesses.
- Choose the awards.
- Launch/promote the programme to the staff.
- Run a pilot scheme and evaluate results.
- Compile a book of answers to staff FAQs/queries and brief these to supervisors.
- Regularly review your scheme and obtain feedback.
- Make sure that you document, communicate and obtain feedback from staff on a regular basis.
- Keep evaluating what is working, and what might need to be improved.
See the book ’How to Run Successful Incentives’