Staff incentives are a powerful tool for boosting productivity, says Sam Kahn. They can be used in all types of industries and organisations to improve the performance of employees and encourage them to reach their goals.

Incentives come in a variety of forms and can be used as a reward or recognition for work well done, as an incentive to reach certain milestones, or as an encouragement to continue doing something that is good for the company.

Some companies use staff incentives because they want their employees to feel appreciated and valued, says Sam Kahn. Others use them because they want their employees to know that they are working towards a goal that will benefit the company in the long run.

The use of incentives can vary depending on the company and the situation, here are seven ways to motivate your employees.

  1. Employees know how to earn rewards and benefits from their employer. The lack of well-defined hard & fast rules about rewards often creates confusion and resentment. Employees might feel penalised because they don’t know why others are selected for promotions or bonuses. Make sure your employees know what they can do to earn rewards like more vacation time and a nice bonus come year-end. The best loyalty programs make their reward-point criteria clear and publicly accessible, says Sam.
  2. Reward your employees for meeting performance goals. I also think that it is important to align rewards, such as bonuses and recognition, with employee performance.
  3. Employees need to know how their productivity and behaviours influence the business and they are a great way of showing employees that you care. Offering employees a variety of rewards can help to encourage them to work harder and smarter. Every company has its own unique culture, so the employees may want different things from the rewards program.
  4. When you set and reach a number of goals this new year, it’s very important to recognise the small ones and not just the large ones. The small achievements are often overlooked which can lead to a false sense of accomplishment, but they’re important because each time you do one it feels like a victory, says Sam Kahn.
  5. Often, businesses obsess over major accomplishments. It’s great to celebrate successes, but keep in mind it’s all the smaller things you managed while achieving your larger milestones that got you there.
  6. To keep the creative juices flowing and maintain motivation, make sure your employee rewards program is tiered. Points should be earned throughout the whole project to help show appreciation and increase commitment, instead of just waiting until it’s finished.
  7. The Daily Deals industry is a tidal wave of best-sellers and new products. What do you usually do when the tides turn against what you are used to? You refresh! Employees can get easily bored with rewards, which quickly lowers the value of such a reward. If you want your employees to always strive to be excellent and take ownership of their work, update their rewards often to create a sense of urgency with them.

Reward programs can have a really positive impact on the performance of employees, and increase productivity, says Sam Kahn.  For example, if financial incentives are set up well to encourage employees, then it could increase your company’s productivity. Studies have shown that companies with tangible sales incentives tend to see a 3x increase in revenue annually on average. 

According to one theory, says Sam Kahn,  we take actions because we want outside reinforcement. Incentive theory or rewards system is one of the most popular motivation theories and states that behaviour is motivated by a desire for reinforcement or incentives.

Companies are changing the way they incentivise their staff to help with their overall performance. They are giving their employees a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards which have been shown to increase productivity, creativity and innovation, and keep their employees engaged and motivated, says Sam Kahn.

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