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Incentives should motivate, not control

An increasing number of firms are using employee incentive programs to improve worker output and productivity.

An increasing number of firms are using employee incentive programs to improve worker output and productivity. However, not all companies are implementing them in a uniformly successful manner.

One common mistake businesses make is shaping rewards as a control mechanism, Fast Company reports. Instead of using incentives as a method for reshaping company culture and inspiring staff members, they are used as part of "carrot-and-stick thinking." This way of controlling individuals is one that people generally resist.

Fortunately, there are qualities that employers and managers can foster to negate this perception of incentives. For one, the news source suggests that firms provide workers with more independence, allowing for greater self-direction.

"We are finding that giving people a chance to succeed in their job and setting them free to a certain degree is the key to motivation, as opposed to trying to direct and control people's energy," Fast Company explains. "It's really about letting go and connecting people to their work – and each other – rather than channeling, organizing, orchestrating, and focusing behavior."

Companies can meet with a select group of employees to understand their needs better as well as industry leaders who have instituted successful initiatives.

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