How to successfully reward employees and run internal incentive plans

Motivating employees is a challenge. Let's face it, figuring out the magic universal formula for motivating people (kids too) would afford you the luxury of living on your own private island. But people are unique and each are driven by different motivations. Your company will be successful by determining which incentives work best for helping each employee reach their maximum potential. Here are some ideas for how to successfuly reward employees that will pay off in the long run. It's one thing to hire a self-starter, but let's look at ways to keep them motivated. 

Employee Recognition

Hard working people like to feel appreciated. One way or another, set up a plan for employee recognition. Perhaps it's a note in your calendar to send an email once a month, or taking time to walk down and verbally thank or congratulate an employee on a job well done. Another idea is to run an online company store to recognize those who keep the wheels turning or hold an appreciation luncheon after a job well done (with a short speech recognizing people individually). Or consider asking your employees for THEIR ideas on what would help them feel appreciated. Let's face it, we need our team to be motivated. Recognizing each employee with more than a paycheck allows them to feel valued, desiring to do more.

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. No merchant or tradesman would set himself to work if he did not hope to reap benefit thereby.
— Martin Luther

Workplace Fun

Looking forward to work is essential to employee morale. High morale leads to high productivity and who doesn't benefit from that. Leaving the workspace for a little conversation and laughter with other employees can do wonders. Happy employees are productive employees. Take time for gatherings.

In my experience, the best creative work is never done when one is unhappy.
— Albert Einstein

Don't Offer Bonuses

What? No bonuses? Are we crazy? Let us explain... study after study has shown that financial incentives don't actually motivate most people on a daily basis. Instead, people are motivated by fairness, freedom, enjoying their craft, recognition and purpose. 

Instead of bonus plans, we recommend paying a competitive salary so that money no longer becomes an issue for employees. Then invest in resources to make their jobs more efficient and be available to settle matters, listen and provide coaching as necessary.

Time Off

Earned time off is a beautiful thing. A day off for hitting sales goals or putting in 110% consistently deserves a reward. Time off gives people a chance to recharge their batteries and come back ready to roll. has a list of "50 Companies That Crush Giving". They include things like giving back to the community as well as to employees, which in turn create quite an impact.

Ultimately, people need to work and when they feel valued and appreciated the company benefits. Alison Coleman of Forbes magazine reports "Norwegian entrepreneur Torill Bye Wilhelmsen founder Fjellflyt AS, which has inspired the Walking Movement". Research has proven that movement is great for productivity. Keeping the team together and on the same page is a terrific way to keep productivity at its optimum.

To talk more about employee incentive strategies please Contact Us

3 Steps for Building a Quality Employee Incentive Program

As a business, it is important to guide employee achievement and align that achievement within the goals of the organization. These days, however, there is more to incentivizing your employees than simply laying out a bonus structure. Here are three steps for building a quality employee incentive program:

1. Understand employee motivation as it relates to your business goals.

First, determine what matters to your company and what motivates your individual employees, then incentivize accordingly. Look beyond sales goals, and set up incentives for all employees that will improve the health and prosperity of your business as a whole.

Some of your employees may be motivated by money, while others may want more time off, some just want genuine appreciation and still others would work harder for free ski passes, company branded apparel or a tickets to a local sporting event.

By proactively tailoring rewards to the unique individual and their specific accomplishment, you ensure that they are working not only to benefit the company, but themselves as well. According to BH Engagement, companies that actively engage workers profit more than those that do not. If you look at Fortune’s “Best 100 Companies to Work For,” these organizations have averaged an amazing 200.6% return over the past decade.

Financial reward is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the equivalent of recognition. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s a short term solution. Neither is constant praise for average work. Recognition is a key tool in employee retention programs for a reason: people need more than constructive feedback and positive affirmation. They need recognition of extra effort. They need to “feel” it. This will never go away as a basic human need.
— Meghan M. Biro, Forbes

2. Show the love - without delay!

Next, use a combination of short and long term incentive plans. And recognition should always match the effort and results, or it loses meaning. While long-term goals are necessary at the corporate or team level, incentivizing over long timelines becomes difficult due to plain old human nature unless the reward is significant. Quarterly or even monthly goals can have a stronger motivational effect, because the goals are in sight. Also be aware to keep objectives with short timelines achievable - think of how demotivating it might be for someone to be failing month after month.

When great things happen, make public announcements! This doesn't mean taking an ad out in the local paper - although it might! - but the idea is that people feel a stronger sense of appreciation when they are acknowledged in a public manner. Keep in mind that not all goals should be equal as well - your 20-year veteran will have a different target from your college graduate, but completing their distinct objectives is still cause for commemorating the event.

3. Track. Adjust. Repeat.

Just like external marketing plans, internal employee incentive plans should be plotted in detail against a timeline with specific goals that ultimately benefit your company in a variety of ways. Then the results should be tracked to determine effectiveness and the plan tweaked as needed. This should be an ongoing effort as goals and employees change to be sure you are creating a win-win environment for your business and it's people. Sometimes internal spreadsheets are sufficient for tracking, but if more extensive features are needed, external software can help do the trick!

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you maximize the value of your incentive programs and ultimately raise the achievement of your employees and your company.

Please contact us at Alternative Advertising for more strategies to align your employee achievement programs with your corporate goals.