Don't Let Employee Incentive Programs Creep Up On You

Incentives—are they motivating factors that only come from our economic selfishness?  Or is it just setting a specific goal and getting recognition that truly motivates employees? Either way, incentive programs need a firm place in your company—letting it creep up from behind will not be a pleasant surprise. 

In order to separate ownership and control of a company, owners use money as the enticing, dangling carrot that keeps managers in line and thus ensures the business runs smoothly. But is this always the most effective?

Let’s look at different types of employee incentives:

  1. Monetary: There’s the salary, for starters, but we also have profit sharing, bonuses, stock options, and paid vacation time to name a few. Traditionally, this proves to be a solid motivational tool—since everyone has to pay the bills to survive and thrive.
  2. Non-Monetary: No one wants to get paid well and work in a tough environment. Incentives here include flexible hours, additional training, sabbaticals, and other life-enhancing perks.
  3. Generational: These incentives are based on the generation of the worker. Mature workers are usually all about the flexible schedule and part-time hours. Baby boomers are focused on retirement right now, a sabbatical or maybe even job training as desired workplace skills are changing. Generation X’ers need feedback, professional development and tangible rewards. Generation Y’ers are the most needy, wanting feedback, attentive employers, great work environment and a flexible schedule. Demanding youngsters.

It’s safe to say that a balanced incentive program addresses different types of employees and their diverse needs. It’s essential to keep this in mind as you dangle the carrot toward the finish line—that being a job well done.