How are you currently rewarding your team for their hard work – a pat on the back or a hearty “well done”? This may provide limited job satisfaction in the short term, but employees at a certain level, especially those who have previously worked at your competitors’ firms, may be expecting a lot more.
A well-designed incentive scheme can not only make your employees happier, more productive and more motivated, but it can also be great for your bottom line. However, the key phrase here is well designed, as a poorly considered scheme can actually end up costing you more while doing very little for productivity.
Let’s take a look at why incentive schemes such as Corporate Rewards are so popular and tend to work so well. Here are just a handful of the many rather persuasive reasons why it’s a good idea to set one up:
- Employee job satisfaction. When a person has been in a role for some time, it’s easy for them to become bored and demotivated. These employees then start looking for a fresh challenge. If you can give them realistic and achievable goals to aim at, they will be more motivated coming into work each week and leave with a satisfying sense of achievement come the weekend. If there’s always a new goal, and perhaps a financial incentive, to reach for, then why would they look for another position?
- Productivity, engagement and motivation. It’s a basic fact of business – happier employees are more productive team members. If you are providing incentives to achieve better results and word harder, employees will be more engaged with the business. They work hard, and they get something back. This desire to be involved should result in greater productivity and greater revenue for the business.
- Staff retention. If you can achieve all of the above in terms of employee happiness and job satisfaction, you’ll find that your staff stick around for longer, becoming valued and integral assets for your business as it grows.
- Achieving KPIs. If you can design your scheme so that it aligns with your key business objectives, you can achieve goals that continue to drive your business forward. So, if a KPI you’re keen to achieve is 5% more revenue from your sales team this year, you can directly influence this by offering an incentive to your team to increase sales. You can do this across the whole business to hit KPIs in multiple areas, gearing each incentive towards a particular performance goal.
The first essential step of setting up an employee incentive scheme is to consider carefully why you are doing it. What is your main goal? To increase turnover, improve service, target specific products or increase profit margins? Bear in mind not all staff members will be able to help you achieve a specific KPI, so would they end up feeling demotivated if they were left out of a scheme? In this case, you may need to implement a separate programme in which everyone is included and can assist in achieving the overall objective in some way.
Targets and rewards
The targets you set must be very clear and specific, but realistic and achievable. Aim for challenging targets that aren’t too easy or tough to achieve. You need to be able to measure performance and crucially, always be able to link individual or team targets with overall corporate objectives. If you’re setting individual targets, they should encourage healthy competition between colleagues, while team targets should promote bonding and teamwork skills.
Now, for the rewards. Bear in mind that not everyone has the same taste, and not everyone will want the same thing. For this reason, give your staff a choice of reward. Vouchers for different retailers are usually a popular option, but you could think outside the box with something a bit different, such as experience days or even holidays for top-level goals achieved.
Crucially, you must not move the goalposts once the scheme has launched, either in terms of targets or rewards. A sense of fairness is key to the success of an incentive scheme, whereas any sense of foul or unfair play can be severely demotivating.
At the very start of developing your incentive scheme, it’s a great idea to get employees involved. Select a committee of staff representatives and get their input on targets, rewards and troubleshooting, as well as how best to promote the scheme. You’ll need to set aside a budget for promotion, from printed materials in the workplace as well as someone to oversee the admin of the scheme.
A hype day could be a fantastic way to kickstart your new scheme, where you issue targets just for that day to really start a buzz about the scheme. Make it fun and staff won’t see it as work, and they’ll hopefully feel really energised and positive about the whole idea going forward.
By Lauren Henley, Digital Content & Outreach Manager at every1