Are Employee Incentives A Good Idea?

It is no secret that at some point everyone will struggle with staying motivated in their career. As an employer or supervisor, you may wonder if it is a good idea to provide your employees with incentives to increase their motivation when productivity seems to be at a standstill. However you can’t help but wonder, is it really effective? The answer is: sort of. 

Incentives can be a good idea when used correctly. It truly comes down to whether or not you implement an incentive or employee recognition program that is purposeful for your company specifically. Incentives can increase team morale, provide healthy competition, and encourage employees to do their very best. 

But incentives used too often over too long of a period of time can also cause employees to feel entitled as well as lose the original appeal for the reason you started an incentive program in the first place: to help motivate employees. So how can you start providing employees with incentives without going too far? Well, like so many things in life, the keyword is balance. 

Providing Just Enough Incentive 

Just like Goldilocks and her porridge, you want to find the just-right incentive program to work for your employees. Research shows that providing incentives can eventually cause employees to become complacent and struggle to stay motivated even more than they were before.  

The research states that when you provide rewards to employees, you are not actually encouraging them to work harder or smarter, but instead encouraging temporary compliance. This may seem like starting an incentive program may not be the right move for your company. But remember there are two sides to every story. 

There is counter research that says that as long as you aren’t providing incentives for every project (or even if you are, as long as they are purposeful they can be successful), incentives can be beneficial and helpful. 

Rewarding positive behavior is a natural psychological response to human behavior. Humans crave positive reinforcement, and providing your team members with an incentive is an easy way to provide positive reinforcement that will encourage and motivate your employees for both present and future work projects. 

Increasing Team Morale 

A happy work environment creates happy employees, right? Incentives can help increase team morale and provide colleagues with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. This is just like a student that is excited to share their grades with friends and family members.

When you use incentives in the workplace, employees become engaged with one another to share success stories. Not only will they want to share and collaborate more with one another, but they will have a shared goal to work for the common good of the business. It is a win-win for everyone involved. 

When employees are successful, they not only enjoy the rewards from the incentive program, but their overall positive demeanor will rub off on other employees. All team members involved will naturally want to work to help their team continue to be successful. A shift in team morale can change the entire demeanor and work ethic of an office. Providing incentives can help provide the change you need to grow your business. 

Inspire Before You Incentivize 

Everyone enjoys being inspired, especially when it comes to their work. Sometimes, something as simple as inspiration can help increase team morale. This will drive your employees to work more efficiently and effectively for the incentives you are providing. 

Using inspiration as a foundation in your business will allow employees to feel good about the work they are doing. It can also help them to find motivation to increase their workload and obtain the goals you set in connection with the incentives you have chosen to provide. 

Intrinsic motivation is a key component for employees to be successful. As the employer, if you help to provide inspirational content the employees will have a desire to improve their work ethic. When motivation and inspiration work side by side, the quality of both the work environment and the work itself will automatically improve. 

Providing Clear Expectations and Feedback 

Increasing team morale and overall employee satisfaction and productivity are the obvious goals when providing employees with incentives. And the incentives are a good idea when they work. 

But in order for them to work, expectations and parameters must be understood by all personnel involved from the very beginning. As a leader, you know that communication is crucial when running a company. Incentive plans are a time when communication needs to be absolutely clear. 

It is imperative that the incentive you are providing is connected to a measurable and attainable goal. If you provide broad incentives that aren’t tied to a specific outcome, that is where an incentive program will fail. 

Employees will become frustrated with the process. The unattainable goals you have set and the incentive program you were hoping will increase productivity will backfire. 

But as long as you ensure that your employees understand the requirements and rewards associated with the specific requirements, then it is very possible to make incentives work in your favor. Don’t stress, simply give your employees the specifics for your incentive plan and you will guarantee yourself a successful plan. 

The Benefits Of Offering Incentives 

As an employer, you may be hesitant to offer something that has mixed reviews and outcomes. But if you do some research and focus on the goals you have specifically for your employees and your business, incentives can provide the answer you have been looking for to improve the workplace. 

Every employer wants loyal employees that are hard-working and happy to come to work. Providing rewards for your employees encourages them to be loyal for the long term. They will be eager to not only earn the incentive but will also be motivated to improve their skills in the process. 

As a business owner, if you choose to provide incentives to your employees, you are not only investing in their professional growth, but also in the growth of your business. 

Author: Editorial Team

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