Success in 2020; Investing in Your Incentives

Invest in the Incentives Offered to Your Team

People need something to work towards. A paycheck isn’t always enough to keep the motivation flowing from your team. Find ways to invest in their mental well-being, reward good behavior and promote a positive workplace morale. The work environment is where we spend a large amount of our waking hours, so if retention is your goal, make sure it’s an environment that encourages your team to thrive and reach higher. 

Saying, “Hey Chuck, good job out there today!” with a pat on the back isn’t a bad way to encourage someone, but going a little further here and there will make it more exciting, memorable and overall expresses more appreciation. If you have trouble finding some creative ways to get the praise out, here are some great investment opportunities for your team:

1. Offer an “Idea Bounty”

Employees love bonuses, which can come in many forms. A wonderful concept for an incentive is for employees to propose a fully fleshed out idea (with processes) that would help improve the business. Fellow coworkers then vote on the concept. Once an idea is voted in, the founder approves it. Once implemented, the employee receives a $20 “idea bounty.”

To build this program into your company’s culture, you could create healthy competition by tracking how many “idea bounties” are awarded to a single employee within a certain period of time.

2. Switch Up the Workspace

Who wants to stare at the same walls, same interior design, for (potentially) years and years? There really is something to be said for workplace environment design, including the amount of light, the colors used, pictures on the walls, and even the desk spaces and seating. There are so many ways to invest into the workspace, from small upgrades to dingey equipment and furniture, to full on workplace make-overs. If you feel it’s getting a little tired in your workspace, maybe it’s time to look into ways to spice up the aesthetic and the morale. It may not be a direct incentive, but it will definitely create some fresh new excitement for your team. 

3. Recognize Large and Small Achievements

Too often, companies obsess over major accomplishments. Of course, celebrating big wins is important, but  tunnel vision on major accomplishments may detract from recognizing all the work that went into the smaller milestones along the way — milestones that were essential to making your big win happen. 

Your rewards program should be tiered, offering up praise, perks, and recognition throughout the lifecycle of a project, not just at the finish line. In this way, your employees will feel supported and motivated every step of the way, leading to a productivity boost.

4. Incentivize Teamwork

Teamwork amplifies each individual’s productivity, leading to greater business outcomes. Plus, strengthening relationships within and between departments improves collaboration, innovation, and communication throughout your company. A great rewards program should focus on engaging and rewarding team efforts. 

Your team-based rewards should be more substantial than individual rewards. Teamwork and collaboration take more time and project management skills, and you’ll want to establish a rewards system that can reward the entire group simultaneously. For example, if you assign a project to an engineering time and they tackle it in record time, consider rewarding them with a team outing to a location of their choice. Effective team-based rewards encourage and increase cooperation, engagement and employee productivity.

5. Refresh Your Rewards Frequently

Employees can quickly become bored with certain rewards, which can decrease the value of the reward over time. If you want employees to constantly strive for excellence, update your rewards often to create a sense of urgency with your employees. 

Rewards can be tied to performance data. Employees shouldn’t be comfortable achieving the bare minimum for a reward. As your business objectives change, benchmarks for rewards and recognition should also evolve. Rewards should always be incentivizing, not a “given” in the workplace. Refresh them often to ensure your employees are always excited about their rewards program.

6. Create Personalized and Specific Recognition

A personalized approach better engages employees in the recognition process. Recognition announcements and personal notes of appreciation are a vital part of building a productive workplace culture. When activities like this are vague or broad, the message becomes less genuine, and employees will pick up on that quickly.

7. Invest in Personal Development

One of the most valuable things you can do as a leader is to invest in the future of your talent. An upskilled workforce can drive value for your business, as well as establish trust and appreciation for top talent. 

This type of employee reward may be more expensive, but it can pay dividends over time. Sponsor certifications for your high performers or pay for entry to a valuable conference. You can even encourage employees to take online training courses and assist with providing resources to do so. The knowledge gained is invaluable to their career and will enhance the quality of their work.

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