Don’t cringe when you hear: Employee Incentive Program

Let’s start with some facts. Basic employee recognition often goes overlooked, it’s important to reward employees for going the extra mile, and the economy has certainly been better. So what?

Well, if you’re a business owner there’s a fine line to walk between adequate recognition and frivolous spending. The balance is difficult, but maybe a little refresher on incentive programs principles will help.
At the root, the purpose of recognition or incentives is to encourage performance that rises above normal, expected job requirements. However, incentive programs can have negative connotations for both employee and supervisor due to fears of favoritism or entitlement.

What’s the answer? Well, similar to the constant debate about how to best stimulate the economy, it seems that everyone has a differing opinion when it comes to the specifics on the right ways to run a business recognition program but the major pillars are always consistent.

We can sum it up with:

As a manager/business owner, strategically schedule an incentive program and set simple, specific goals for employees that are realistic to achieve and also measurable upon completion.

That’s it. Sadly, easier said than done.
Here’s a few reminders when setting up an incentive program:

  • Create a game plan to set goals according to areas of company need
  • Make sure all employees are eligible for the recognition.
  • Set aside a budget for corporate awards/prizes
  • Motivate and promote throughout the program
  • Make sure objectives don’t compete with overall company goals
  • Have an ambitious agenda, within reason
  • Remember to look beyond the numbers occasionally (e.g. Most Improved, Rookie of the Year)

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