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When performance drops, new incentive programs can help

Many businesses struggle to effectively maintain high levels of involvement in their employee incentive programs.

Companies can employ a number of techniques to get the most out of their workers, and some methods have proven beneficial in a variety of ways. It is not surprising that rewarding specific behavior will encourage more of that activity, which can be used to improve productivity, accomplish goals and drive customer satisfaction. However, many businesses struggle to effectively maintain high levels of involvement in their employee incentive programs.

When incentive programs begin to show lagging results, businesses often respond by altering the type of rewards that are offered. While this is a good way to bring new energy and excitement to the initiative, it may not address the main issues causing the drop in participation.

Four factors to successful reward programs
The blog Analytical Mind notes that  four factors that determine the success of a reward program – goals, communication, trust and accountability. Failure in one area will discourage workers from engaging with the program. Companies can improve the results of their reward programs by ensuring that managers follow through on their commitments and share relevant information with employees.

All of these factors involve an ongoing dialog with workers. Employees need to both trust their managers to follow through on promises, and deliver on their own commitment to their company. Maintaining discussions about how to improve the program as well as other business functions helps create a corporate culture that continually pushes all parties to achieve long-term goals and helps employee understand their importance.

Improving incentive programs
Sometimes, altering one element of a recognition program can generate better results. Leaders should examine the program’s objectives on a regular basis. As business conditions change, specific goals may become too easy or too difficult, which can cause employees to lose interest. A proper mix of goals is needed to keep businesses moving along their desired path. During the analysis of objectives, companies should try to develop a mix of personal and team goals, as this will encourage more open communication and accountability.

The level of communication between managers and their staff should involve regular feedback on performance. PayScale reports that 56 percent of workers who claim they have low morale at their job gave their managers a failing grade for their recognition efforts. Acknowledging the contribution of individuals helps all staff members understand their role better, leading to more energy and productivity.

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