Give Employees Incentive with a Rewards Program

June 5, 2013

ID-10088218Most business owners, executives and managers have a misconception that money is the #1 motivator for an employee. However, according to many psychologists who study work behavior, there are many things that motivate people to act. Money and job security are two of the primary things people need, but even beyond those there are more important needs that all people crave. These include love and esteem, which can be achieved by feeling recognized and appreciated.

One of the best ways to provide recognition and appreciation is through the use of rewards. To make rewards work for your business, follow these basic guidelines from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training:

1. Reward People Based On Their Specific Needs — When designing a reward program, take into account individual personalities and preferences. Once you design an appropriate award, make sure it also addresses the group’s overall needs. For the most part, it does not have to be an expensive reward. For example, many people will be motivated, or go the extra mile, in order to receive a commendation or have their name placed on a plaque.

2. Give A Reward For Attaining The End-Result — Rewards should be based on what was actually accomplished, but be careful—setting the bar too low or too high will have a negative effect on your team’s performance, so plan accordingly. It could be a stretch, although attainable, to give people something to strive towards.

3. Give Rewards When Goals Are Achieved — Rewards and recognition should be given out immediately after the desired behavior is achieved. If you delay the reward or recognition long after the achievement is met, it does little to motivate an employee along the path of a project.

4. Involve Your Employees In The Design Process — Make employees part of the design process—especially with reward programs that directly affect them. People gain a sense of belonging and importance when they have input on the type of goals they should be achieving.

5. Have Regular Progress Meetings — If you have regularly scheduled meetings to keep all employees informed about the company’s goals, it will help everyone feel as though they belong to the organization. Plus, it keeps them informed on the overall progress they are making, which is a great long-term motivator. This is a wonderful time to give recognition for any achievements, whether or not those accomplishments are connected to a reward program.

6. Listen To Your Employees — It is no secret that the #1 way to improve your organization is to ask your employees how to get things done better, faster and cheaper. After all, your employees have the best insight on improving operations, since they deal with the systems and processes on a daily basis. To keep your employees involved with the refining of your business, make a point to give full credit (as well as reward them with something tangible) to the ones who were directly involved with the idea.

When creating a rewards program, it is important to tailor it around your employees’ specific needs and interests. Also, involve your employees in the crafting of the program, and meet with them regularly to keep them updated on the intended goals that warrant the rewards. Do this, and you’ll find the program to be a great motivating factor.

Photo credit: Miles

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