How to Build a Great Employee Incentive Program

Running effective employee incentives programs can be an effective way to drive your people towards greater heights of success. That is, if your program is truly clear and effective. To understand what incentive programs are, it helps to know what they are not.

They are not profit sharing, stock awards or even individual bonus plans. Those are compensation bonuses. What incentive plans do is to drive action on a day-to-day basis based on performance. Here is what you need to know to come up with an effective program.

Think about the objectives

The one thing that ensures a program is successful is knowing what the end result it hopes to achieve. Educate them, in no uncertain terms, what you want to see regarding sure numbers. When you’re able to define your program well, it becomes simpler and raises no questions.

The vaguer your terms are, the more likely that people are going to look for loopholes to exploit rather than conscientiously work towards the end you want.

Have tiers

The problem with a single incentive that is too high and hard to achieve is that it might just turn away those who are ranked lower among their peers. What you will end up with is a situation where a few excel for the company’s benefit while others just idly cheer them on.

It helps to have incremental tiers that many people can achieve – this also makes the overall end goal more achievable by more people.

Use a leaderboard

Invisible incentives will not inspire people as much, especially when enough time passes and people start to forget what they’re working hard for. It helps to have your employee incentives program, its guidelines and rules, its goals, and its prizes for everyone to see.

Gamifying it by using leaderboards help a lot but do not do it at the expense of those who aren’t ranking too high. It should be balanced out and fair.

Focus on concrete goals

business officers shaking hands

When you set up a program to improve performance, make sure that you define what that improvement means in concrete terms. If you want to see a 20 percent increase in sales, for instance, clearly state that that’s the goal. Try, though, to make it as collaborative as you can make it.

Engaging people as teams will allow those who are truly gung ho to be guides and motivators to those who are not so into things.

Establish standards

One downside about programs like these is that they are gamified by nature. Unfortunately, that means that people might try to treat it like a game or resort to manipulating the system to their benefit. Make sure you have strict ethical standards established to make sure everyone is playing fair.

Also, make sure you’re very clear as to how these standards will be enforced if there are any violations.

Incentive programs are a great way to inspire change and drive people towards a goal. It is important, however, that this is well thought out to ensure that it actually achieves the goals you set forth. Make sure to follow these tips and you can be sure that your incentives program is a success.

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