Oct 5, 2016 5:09:01 PM

The Power of Incentives in the Workplace

We’ve all had negative working experiences.  Many offices are filled with unhealthy competition, our days peppered with manipulation and deceit in efforts to get ahead.  So what makes for a healthy working environment?  How do team leaders create positivity and productivity in equal amounts?  There is a secret that some of the world’s top leaders know, one word that gets them further than anything else in their careers. Gratitude.  Time and time again, studies have shown that it is not happy people who are thankful, but rather thankful people who become happy.

An easy and effective method to achieve positivity in your workplace is within your reach.  Incentives are a creative approach that many upper level managers overlook.  However experience shows that even a small reward for work well done can lead to increased productivity and boost morale. Below, the power of offering workplace incentives, explored.

  1. Trust

At its core, an incentive based strategy is about trust.  Offering a reward to any employee who can reach a targeted goal demonstrates that you have a high level of trust in your staff.  You believe in them, their abilities, and their aptitude for success.  Before they have even begun the task, your offer states that you know they are capable of thriving.  This breeds healthy competition and personal satisfaction.  Encouraging your team to best themselves creates attainable goals.  Telling them that you know without a doubt that they can do it, well that is workplace gold.  Incentives play a very large role in developing trust between associates.  And trust is a cornerstone of all positive office relations.

  1. Recognition

From the day we are born, every human being on the planet appreciates being recognized for his or her achievements. It can often be overlooked in the workplace, in an effort to maximize productivity. But setting aside time to truly recognize someone’s efforts can have unlimited potential. Offering incentives, along with praise and public announcements for a job well done, are a small gesture that has lasting results. Studies have shown that incentive programs not only attract quality employees but also improve employee engagement by up to 30%. It is a simple show of gratitude that can lead to content and dedicated workers.  

  1. Motivation

The day-to-day grind of an office environment can get seriously harrowing.  Staff are consistently looking for ways to keep things fresh and exciting.  This is where incentives can play a major role.  Coming up with new and interesting things on offer has a way of exciting employees.  Gift cards, extended sick days, paid lunches, are all good ideas.  Create various, small ways to reward and excite your team.  However, avoid handing out the same incentives every time — if done incorrectly, an incentive can become an entitlement and lose its power to persuade.

  1. Employee Development

One incredibly powerful incentive is to engage in employee development.  Research conferences or seminars that would be helpful for both you and your staff — then send a high-achiever to learn useful skills, all expenses paid.  Career development is a useful strategy to invest in.  The employee feels engaged and successful while bringing all of their new knowledge back to share with the company.  Both sides win in an incentive strategy that has the power to create new opportunities for all.

  1. Morale

Negative attitudes can adversely affect the achievement of work goals.  Studies have shown that mood has a dedicated impact on motivation and performance.  Organizations that use incentives regularly are hiring and retaining a higher quality of worker while also boosting the self-confidence of the entire office. One of the motivating factors of successful employee incentive programs is that HR strategies become structured around your employee, rather than structuring it around the company mission.  Seeking employee input can validate the person, thereby stimulating the work they are doing. On the flip side, gratitude can also serve to improve the outlook of the team leaders. One Berkeley study relays that acting with more generosity and compassion towards others can provide a host of benefits. Looking at it from any angle, implementing incentives via a professional attitude of gratitude is a sure route to success.

Incentive programs have been shown to boost performance by anywhere from 25-44 percent, but only if conducted in ways that address all issues related to performance and human motivation.  Simply offering up a prize for work well done is not enough.  Structuring a targeted employee incentive strategy with a tiered system of rewards, public recognition and private encouragement is the path to productivity. As a wise man once said ‘ A grateful mind is a great mind, which eventually attracts to itself great things’.  As a leader, perpetuating gratitude within yourself and your team is one of the most effective things you can do.

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