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Tailor reward programs to meet specific goals

Successful employee incentive programs can generate higher levels of productivity or services among staff members. Well-planned and thought-out initiatives seem to energize entire organizations, helping them achieve objectives quickly and efficiency.

Successful employee incentive programs can generate higher levels of productivity or service among staff members. Well-planned and thought-out initiatives seem to energize entire organizations, helping them achieve objectives quickly and efficiency.

However, there are occasions when reward programs struggle to produce results because workers don't participate or don't meet the intended goals. These situations may occur because managers failed to properly tailor the programs to fit the desired objectives. This can influence employee motivation to participate, greatly altering success of the program.

One aspect that companies often fail to consider is the goals set by an initiative. Many organizations pick a potential benchmark that needs to be reached for the quarter or year. This could seem overwhelming for employees if they don't see a lot of success early in the program, which may cause them to quit. Rather than presenting a single long-term objective that needs to be met, companies could be better served by creating a mix of short and long-term goals. This keeps workers on the path to eventual success and gives them additional motivation along the way.

Tailor rewards to employees
The type of reward being offered can also influence participation. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the London Business School and the University of Southern California found that younger workers are not as motivated by cash rewards as older generations, Employee Benefits reported. Depending on the composition of the staff, reward types may need to be adjusted to generate more excitement and energy. For instance, the study found that workers born between 1980 and 1995 were most interested in flexible schedules. Twenty-one percent of women and 15 percent of men within this age group stated they would give up some pay in exchange for more workplace flexibility.

In addition to considering the demographics of the audience, businesses should also consider the positions they are trying to motivate. Damsels in Success, an entrepreneurial blog targeted at female owners, notes that sales staff and administrative positions require very different reward programs. In departments where cooperation and communication are essential to increasing productivity, individual rewards may be a mistake. These types of initiatives encourage competition and could limit the willingness of staff members to cooperate with each other. A better strategy, the source notes, is to create a single goal based on team performance. This motivates the members of a department to find ways to work together more efficiently, generating better results for the company.

Individual rewards are best suited for roles that are generally independent of other departments, such as sales. For these employees, individualized incentives will likely encourage the positive results companies seek.

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