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The future of workplace incentives

06/05/2022 minute read Hannah Hirst

What is the source of motivation for employees? Money… right? The majority of people wouldn’t do their job if they weren’t going to be paid for it. After all we need money to live. But really this says that a lack of money would demotivate someone, but money alone does not motivate people to perform well.

In fact studies have found that in some cases being offered a monetary reward for completing a task actually has a negative impact on productivity. In his Ted Talk ‘The puzzle of motivation’ Dan Pink looks at some experiments that were carried out around rewarding with pay, and shows us how using a monetary incentive to complete a creative thinking task actually caused participants to take longer than those who were not being offered a monetary reward.

Rewarding staff in a way that doesn’t involve money can actually help to boost morale at your organisation. This is because doing pay related reward fairly is very difficult, and it can insight resentment from those who aren’t in roles that allow for commission to be given, and even amongst those who are, who feel they are not rewarded as well as others.

By rewarding and motivating employees in other ways you can avoid hurt feelings and animosity. This is why a lot more organisations are starting to look at other ways to incentivise and reward employees for their hard work. 

Don’t get us wrong, we’re definitely not telling you to pay your employee’s less! A fair and steady income is key for people’s well-being. However you might want to think about implementing some alternative methods for incentives that don’t link to performance related pay.        

So what other ways can you boost motivation at your organisation?  

Friday afternoons off

If you are telling your employees you are taking away performance related pay and you’re worried about the reaction, an extra afternoon off each week is a great way to soften the blow. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a year-long thing, you could choose a few weeks out of the year where everyone gets to leave at lunch time one day a week (this doesn’t need to be the same day for everyone if you’re worried about someone manning the phones). Giving people just a few extra hours off a week is a great way to thank them for their hard work.  

Birthdays off

Allowing staff to take off their birthday (or the nearest week day) without needing to take annual leave for it is a nice little perk. It’s only one extra day and not everyone will take it (some people enjoy being in the office on their birthday) but it’s a little thing that will be appreciated by many.

Flexible working

If you don’t already have flexible working in place at your organisation you might want to consider it. Allowing your people to choose where they work best, or be a little more flexible about start and finish times to suit the times of day they work best, can go a long way to motivating staff. Unless completely necessary, it is counterproductive to force all employees to be in an office five days a week, not all tasks are best done in a noisy office space, which is why many people are now looking to work at organisations that allow them to choose the working environment that suits them and their work load best.   

Fund raisers for charity and paid volunteer days

People like to work at organisations that are giving back to the community. By having fund raisers like bake sales, Christmas jumper day, raffles and so on you can do something fun and give to some good causes. You could also allow each employee to take one or two paid days a year to volunteer, this could be done individually or as a group.   

Value awards

Consider implementing a value awards system at your organisation. To do this look at the core values of your company, this could be ‘delivering great service’ or ‘executing work at pace’. Then ask your employees quarterly to nominate a co-worker that has demonstrated this value in their work, and from those nominations choose someone to award for each value. You can give them a shout out at a meeting or via email and give them a certificate or trophy. Things like this can make an employee feel recognised for their work.  

Positive feedback

Receiving positive feedback for a job well done shows employee’s their work is being recognised and they are appreciated. Working hard on something and not getting any praise can make employee’s feel unnoticed, this is detrimental to motivation. If you haven’t already got one, think about installing a platform like Advanced Clear Review, which allows employees to give and receive feedback in real time.    

Supporting employees to reduce burnout

A key thing that can motivate employees is feeling supported at work. If they are feeling over worked, stressed and disengaged they will rapidly loose motivation. So ensure line managers are checking in regularly (we suggest once a month) with each member of their team to make sure they are coping well.

We hope this has given you some food for thought, and you take some time to rethink how you motivate your employees to boost productivity, motivation and staff satisfaction!

If you would like to learn more about Advanced Clear Review and how you can say yes to becoming an employer of choice, book a demo with our team.