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01 Aug 2023
by Andy Philpott

7 tips for creating an employee incentive scheme that works

well designed employee incentive programmes boost more than just sales teams

7 tips for creating an employee incentive scheme that works.jpg 1


Providing rewards via incentive programmes is one of the most effective ways to motivate and engage a workforce.

Well thought-out incentive schemes that provide both big and small rewards for performance can motivate all kinds of employees, not just sales teams. Overall, this can increase business performance by as much as 44%.

Yet too many organisations feel their incentive schemes don’t work as intended. In the worst cases, complicated processes and mechanisms for giving and accessing rewards leave employees feeling frustrated rather than valued.

With this in mind – here are 7 simple tips for designing a scheme that will help you incentivise employees effectively and achieve your business goals:

1. Make rewards distinct

Make sure any financial incentives you provide are visible. For example, if you provide rewards through regular salary payments, they are likely to get lost in day-to-day spending.

Instead provide distinct rewards through separate channels like prepaid credit cards that recipients can swap for gift cards. Employees are much more likely to value such payments and use them for treats they will remember – in turn, this will incentivise them to perform to their best again.

2. Reflect online experiences

Go digital and ensure employees can access the incentives you provide easily online or through an app, As online consumers and users of social media, employees want and expect the same experience from their interactions with their employer. Digital reward systems also provide choice: employees can choose from a range of rewards that that they can tailor to their needs and will value more highly.

3. Aim for immediacy

Empower management teams to issues rewards ‘in the moment’. One of the biggest problems with many older incentive schemes is the length of time it takes between earning and receiving reward. Reward needs to be immediate to encourage repeat behaviour.

4. Recognise small as well as big achievements

Recognise and incentivise the big achievements, such as reaching a sales target, but also reward the smaller acts of teamwork that contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

Both kinds of recognition combined give employees a stronger sense that they are valued. Saying a regular thank you also builds trust and rapport that incentivises people to do their best work.

5. Celebrate success

Publish who has been rewarded via your incentive scheme through monthly newsletters and social channels. Also, give those people a voice. Ask them to share their tips for achieving success, how they will spend their reward and what they’re aiming to achieve next. This will help to raise awareness of your scheme and drive engagement.

6. Make rewards and incentives consistent

If you have implemented a digital reward and recognition platform, use the management information it provides to ensure that incentives are distributed equitably and consistently across your organisation.

Word will soon spread if it isn’t – which could have a negative impact on overall workforce motivation. If appropriate, you can also use the data to ensure you are meeting diversity, equity and inclusion targets.

7. Ease the red tape

Modern recognition and reward platforms provide you with all the tools you need to set up, automate and communicate your incentive programmes online with ease.

As well as helping to ensure you provide an efficient and effective scheme that is truly valued by your employees, this will help you save many hours of administration.

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