There is a misconception that rewards can and should only be applied to doing good work, meeting a certain goal, or excelling at a specific task.
Do you offer rewards to your employees for doing good work? If yes, great!
Do you reward your employees for excelling at or accomplishing a certain task? If so, great.
Do you reward your employees for any other behaviors or doing things they may not be thrilled about? If no, you’re not alone. . . we find that there is a misconception that rewards and incentives can and should only be applied to doing good work, meeting a certain goal, or excelling at a specific task.
That line of thinking is limiting both in terms of the effects that incentives and rewards can have on employee engagement and the scope of behaviors, tasks and goals that can be incentivized.
Tyler Love is Director of Client Solutions at Xceleration, and he offers additional ways to use rewards and incentives to further drive employee, sales or customer engagement.
“Do you want to force your employees to do something or encourage them to do something?“ Love asks. “Forced participants are less willing, less engaged. If they participate on their own, they are much more engaged in the whole process. Training becomes much more effective when they are engaged.”
Training and workforce development is an area almost perfectly suited for incentives. Offering points or rewards for completing a training module or program, learning a new skill or a safety procedure engages the employee at a higher level.
“By incentivizing people to learn more, we are engaging them more. They become more effective, and they don’t even realize it,” Love explains. “Some are initially doing it for the reward, but the company realizes the benefits of the training. The small investment pays off because they become engaged participants and retain that knowledge.”
A critical component of this idea is having the rewards delivered immediately upon completion of the training. Waiting for the incentive to process can quickly drain any motivation the employee may be feeling.
“That immediate gratification helps them prioritize that training over something they otherwise wouldn’t,” Love says.
Don’t limit yourself to training, either.
Surveys are an effective way to measure engagement, and you’re guaranteed to get a larger response if you offer an incentive to participate. Capturing feedback from employees, clients and customers can lead to improvements in internal processes, safety procedures and products – valuable changes that prove your willingness to listen to input and that can increase engagement and customer loyalty.
Education surrounding new policies, procedures, brands or products can all be incentivized as they are released. This can be particularly effective in a distributor or 3rd party sales model. “The intent is not just to get them to sell more product.” Love goes on to explain that launching a new sales program or product with an incentive behind it can change a distributor’s strategy. At the point of sale, the distributor is more likely to reach for your product first if you’re running an effective program and offering something they want.
“Consistently providing great incentives – rather than ‘shiny objects’ that are quickly forgotten – makes it worth it for them to change their behavior.”
Avoid limiting your rewards to textbook behaviors. By taking your incentive programs into new areas, you not only get better results, but you just may learn something about your company you can take to the bank.