When you wake up in the morning, who’s hopes and dreams are you wanting to fulfill? Who’s goals do you want to accomplish? Of course, the answer is, yours! Had you said anything else, it would not have been believable. The people who work at your company are the same way, they do not worry themselves about your hopes and dreams. They worry about their own. They do not get up at five in the morning hoping to earn enough to buy you another barrel of jet fuel for your Cessna. They are trying to patch the hole in their roof, purchase a more reliable car, and save up for that once in a lifetime vacation that you take for granted every six months. They don’t work for you. They work for themselves and their families.
Your $50,000 bathroom remodel may mean a lot to you, but it is not what Incentivizes them. The companies that figure out how to incentivize their workforce best are the ones that will have the best workforce. As a manager or CEO, you cannot achieve your goals without a well-motivated workforce. Some leaders see themselves as standing atop a human pyramid with underlings and servants to do their bidding. They will never see the point of motivation and incentives beyond the required pay check. But that pay check does not buy you loyalty. It buys you an honest day’s work. If you want to unlock the full potential of your workforce. you have to tap into what incentivizes them.
Here are a few additions to your rewards program to consider:
Prepaid Incentive Cards
If you are not using gift cards as incentives, it is time for your company to update its spiffs. According to incentivemag.com:
Nearly 75 percent of program managers who participated in Incentive’s latest Gift Card IQ survey said they use them. According to the October 2011 report “State of Gift Card Use in the U.S.” by the Incentive Research Foundation, gift cards are now included in more programs than cash, travel, and merchandise.
People love gift cards. It doesn’t matter if they are retail gift cards or prepaid cards that can be used like cash. Gift card incentives are easy to purchase, keep and customize. Many services used for employee recognition programs like Intelispend, allow companies to determine how and where the cards will be redeemed. A wellness company might want to prohibit the use of its cards for items like cigarettes or fast food. These days, gift cards are a lot more interesting than the $5 Starbucks card you’re used to. Plus, they make great incentives.
Being recognized for doing something right is a powerful incentive for doing it again. Recognition can be as powerful a motivator as gifts. Yet it costs nothing. The value of an incentive is not in its cost, but in how it makes the recipient feel. Most employees specialize in pointing out what an employee does wrong. The real value to an employee is in being recognized for her achievements. For maximum value, make your recognition:
Forced recognition is meaningless. Only the genuine stuff will do. Like justice, recognition delayed is recognition denied. The closer the feedback to the desired action, the more likely that action will be quickly repeated. Finally, it should be public to extend a the person’s sense of pride and accomplishment. Being told in secret that you have done a good job is okay; being told before your peers is even better. Your employees can buy their own cup of joe. Only you can give them sincere, immediate, and public recognition. Be liberal with it. After all, it costs you nothing, and gains you oh, so much.
Incentives that Can Be Shared with the Family
For a family person, the best incentives are those that can be brought home like a trophy, and shared with a spouse. There is nothing a man likes better than to say, “This exotic dinner is a perk from my job because I’m so great.” “Hi, honey. My boss gave me two tickets to the Phantom of the Opera.” “Hey kids, daddy was the top producer this month. We’re going to Disneyland!” Any reward that allows a worker to provide extras for the family while bolstering his own ego is a win-win. He becomes a hero at home, and he has his job to thank for it. As it was put in this ezine article:
Whenever possible, use rewards that can be shared with friends or family. For example, such a reward could be a free dinner for two at a nice restaurant. If the rep can share the results of her/his efforts with others, the incentive will be more exciting and will drive them to do better.
All incentive programs are about enhancing your bottom line. If you can help your employees reach their goals, they will do everything in their power to help you reach yours. A good incentive program is one of the best investments you can make.