It’s one of your objectives, but not your sole focus – employee incentives. You need to be able to align the company goals with employee happiness, and follow it right though to ROI. Oh my!

What are the steps that are going to form a really strong strategy? We take a look.

  • Engage

As anyone knows, one of the first responsibilities as a leader is to motivate employees by engaging and listening. it;’s only going to work if employees feel aligned to the goals and invested in them. This will mean a better bottom line result. Step one has to be surveying, studying or looking at what’s happening and what’s working. If you’re new, or incentives have been run, find out what worked and what didn’t work with incentive programmes in the past.

  • Game, set and match 

You have to set up the right scales and banding for your employees. There isn’t a silver bullet for reward, so try and diversify. You might select a theme- eg ‘Paris’ but the actual incentives could vary from a holiday to Paris to a gift card for a trip away and a hotel stay, right through to a ‘french exit’ – the ability to leave work early – or a French breakfast! Different employees are motivated by different incentives. Track each one and see the conversion ratios.

  • Be clear

You can’t be sneaky when it comes to an incentive, and you have to be open about the rules of the incentive, the terms and conditions, start and end dates. At this stage of the strategy, rely on marketing to help with the designs. You might get some benefit from things like automated emails, leaderboard reminders, posters or calendar invites. Don’t forget the fanfare and explain the obvious. Remember the saying ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’? This is the attitude you need to dispel.

  • Status is everything

There’s something discouraging about the incentive programme that gets updated irregularly, whether the results aren’t company wide and when the final decision sits in an ivory tower. Make sure your strategy will include regular reminders to encourage managers to display the details of how the incentive is working to everyone, from the cleaner to the CEO and to talk about progress against it. A ‘nice to have ‘ perk isn’t going to affect change – so treat the programme seriously!

  • Refresh and review

Don’t let your incentive plan grow stale and plan to review and expect the worst. Even the greatest incentives and even the star employees will tire of the expected. Plan in some ‘jolts’ and shake ups along the way. What about a bonus round? Spot rewards? An unexpected guest visit, a motivational speaker? There are plenty of way to develop a programme and give it a new lease of life. Make yours the best going!
The fact is there is no simple, one-size-fits-all strategy for employee motivation and incentives, but with a good, simple strategy you can cover off all your bases. this means employees are happy, you’re happy, and the work is getting done. What are your tips for creating an effective employee motivation strategy?