How do you Create Performance Incentives? Four Approaches

Situation: The Company is considering options for both team and individual recognition. What have other companies found to be effective?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • One company has foremen compete on project quality, cost containment, and other measures. Bonuses are based on a mix of team performance, project difficulty and individual initiative.
  • One company uses year-end bonuses, but places more emphasis on frequent small recognitions: pedicure, manicure, going out for a meal on the company – things that let the employees know that they are appreciated on a regular basis. Any incentives paid are based on a mix of individual and team performance.
  • One company has completely eliminated bonuses. Salaries were raised to make up the difference, and individual incentives are created and paid during the year. Incentives reward specific accomplishments which are highlighted when the incentive is paid. Incentives are a mix of team and individual performance.
  • One company is very generous with bonuses – $5K to $10K at a time at the discretion of the CEO. These are paid face to face by the CEO and the individual is congratulated on their performance. However, the bonus recipient also signs a paper pledging not to talk about the bonus. If they tell others about their bonus, they are eliminated from the bonus pool. The company also uses publicly announced annual awards, performance-based monthly awards, shirts, etc. that are presented at company meetings. Interestingly, the smaller rewards and public recognition appear to have the most impact.

Key Words: Recognition, Bonus, Reward, Public Recognition, Effectiveness. Competition, Incentive 

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