by | Sep 19, 2014

Rewarding your team

Here at Pod, we love helping our clients get the best out of their teams and feel that an effective reward and recognition programme is an important part of that process.

However, we also recognise that such programmes must be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual business. What may work effectively for one business may be an absolute fizzer if introduced within another.

In this regard, before embarking on such a programme it is important to understand what motivates your staff, what you can afford, how a given approach would fit within your corporate culture and what is expected as “industry standard” for a particular industry or role.

For example, it is widely accepted that sales staff are rewarded via commission structures and therefore removing these from certain roles could lead to resistance and falling levels of motivation. Just imagine how Real Estate Agents might respond to this approach? Especially those who are extremely good that their job – the ones you want to reward in the first place!

However, on the flip side of this coin (and equally as concerning) is when rewards become expected rights. The classic example of this is the “Christmas bonus” with no real links to actual performance, which can become so expected, that if not given it would almost certainly result in backlash. Read Case Study 1 below to see how you can reward staff financially and avoid this pitfall.

Overall, the key here is to ensure that what you introduce will actually work within your situation.

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation occurs as a direct result of external motivation. The most commonly used reward in extrinsic based motivation programmes focus on financial reward.

Now, you may be asking what staff would not be happy about earning more? And you are absolutely right, it is very unlikely that employees would turn down such an opportunity. However, the question you need to ask yourself when determining whether extrinsic motivation should feature in your reward and recognition programme is whether the opportunity to earn more would actually result in increased effort and output. If the answer is no, or not likely, then your staff sound like they would benefit from intrinsic motivation technique s instead of just focusing on extrinsic reward.

Intrinsic motivation is the ultimate reflection of an engaged employee and arises from the desire to perform well within a give task.

Case Study 1 (Extrinsic Approach)

Working with one client in a service based environment, we uncovered the fact that a large percentage of their staff are strongly motivated by financial gain. It was also evident that there were large efficiencies and cost savings to be made by changing a few key behaviours.

These two factors combined to make a strong case for putting in place a financially based reward structure that encouraged improved individual and team based performance. In this instance, the bonus structure was linked to the achievement of role specific KPI’s.

The key to this reward structure working was the clear and transparent link between improved performance and financial reward, which staff were fully aware of from the outset. Once the first quarter is completed and performance measured, staff will be rewarded according to the extent they reached their individual KPI’s.
Then moving forward into the next quarter, we can either continue to measure the same KPI’s a second time or change these to measure performance in other areas that the business wishes to focus on and change behaviours within.

Case Study 2 (Intrinsic Approach)

Working with another of our clients revealed a totally different business scenario and instead of taking the financial reward pathway, we are rewarding staff by tapping into their intrinsic motivation. This has been through a number of different techniques that have proven to be highly successful.

Firstly, the staff have been engaged in not only setting individual stretch targets but also getting them to identify areas of stretch within their job description. This has ensured that staff member feels well connected to a personal development pathway. This strategy can work very effectively with staff who are ambitious and also fits well with organisations that subscribe to a strong internal recruitment policy.

One of the staff members in particular has been identified as having leadership potential and has now been engaged on a formal leadership development programme. Not only does this staff member now feel their past performance and promise has been recognised, but another benefit to the business is they could become a candidate for potential succession planning and advancement, should the business require it in the future.  A real win-win situation.

Case Study 3 (Mixed Approach)

Now you may be wondering if there is some middle ground on these two approaches and the answer is a resounding Yes!

Another of our clients, who have been working to develop a fun culture, have used a KPI based model similar to that used in Case Study 1. However, the focus for this business is more team based and has therefore seen them adopt a team based approach to rewards that reflect the nature of the organisation. For this reason, they regularly have Pizza nights to celebrate meeting team targets, bowls session, pub quizzes and have recently signed the team up to do the 10km walk/run as part of the Auckland Marathon. Now somehow, the staff at Pod have been roped into joining them on this “reward” as well! So I guess we better get some training under our belts before then!

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