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Employee feedback helps firms build successful incentive programs

To generate results, employee incentive programs need to be relevant to workers. When businesses solicit employee feedback, they are able to make initiatives much more effective.

To generate results, employee incentive programs need to be relevant to workers. Companies often fall into the trap of designing programs with little input from staff members and the outcome can be disappointing. When businesses solicit employee feedback, they are able to make initiatives much more effective.

The Mobile Press-Register reports that this was the case with the restaurant chain Checkers. The company's CEO Rick Silva thought his organization's incentive program was progressive, allowing managers and assistant managers to earn bonuses based on their individual store performance. However, a conversation with an employee changed all of that when she pointed out that the structure of the reward program made those on the front-line feel excluded.

The Checkers workers who have the largest impact on customer satisfaction and sales were not motivated to improve their performance under the existing structure of the reward program. Silva has since altered the employee incentive program to include every single employee. All workers are eligible for monthly rewards based on a range of metrics including guest satisfaction, service speed, profits and employee turnover, according to the source. The result is a higher level of engagement throughout the company that is helping to improve profits.

Collect more feedback with open communication
Feedback is essential for maintaining effective reward programs. It allows employees to feel included in the creation of the initiative, which drives participation and helps generate better results. The process of collecting input could also result in more productive ways to manage or oversee the program. 

"First, don't assume that because you're in charge, you're getting all the great ideas," Silva told the Press-Register. "You have to find ways to engage with your front-line employees in a way that's comfortable for them, and then you have to really listen to what they're saying."

Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to effectively collect feedback from their staff. Time Magazine notes that this may be because of a lack of structure for workers. Developing clear channels through which employees can submit ideas, suggestions or criticism can significantly boost participation in management initiatives. The source also explains that feedback should be separated from any review process. When workers feel they are being judged for their input, they are less likely to offer suggestions. Staff members should feel encouraged to provide any insights they have without fear of reprisal.

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