Too often, when many of us think of incentives, we think of “sales.” And why not? Sales incentives have proven to be effective, the results are pretty easy to track, and they’re popular. But employee incentives have a major role to play in rewards and recognition across the board, outside of the “sales” silo, especially when we’re talking about the middle performer.
We all know who the middle performers are: they’re the employees who are doing a “good enough” job, but could do a whole lot better if……and here’s where some of us get stuck, trying to determine that magical “if.” But it isn”t magic, and it’s something we’re already doing with our sales incentives programs. We just need to inject some flexibility so the same principles that have proven so successful in sales can be applied to other areas of the organization. When we apply these principles more broadly, we’ll be applying them to the middle performer as well, the organizational sweet spot for bottom line impact.
In sales incentive programs, rewards typically are based on progress toward goals and value-add activities, such as completing a call plan or implementing strategies learned in training. The incentive is the reward, usually dollars or points. Increasingly, sales incentive programs are gamified and recognition might take the form of progression bars on a leader board, or a clock when a program has specific time frame.
When applying employee incentives to rewards and recognition more broadly, consider shifting the focus to the program’s behavioral aspects, and adjust incentives to reflect this. For example:
At all times, communicate, communicate, and communicate with messages that are informative, encouraging, and motivating. Communications are the lifeblood of an organization, and are an incentive in themselves, especially an organization’s rewards and recognition programs.