Ideas on Incentives Part 1

June 20, 2005

Motivating Your Workforce Toward High Performance

By: Greg Smith

Money may attract employees to the front door, but something else has to keep them from going out the back.

Managing people takes an entirely different approach than it did just a year ago. Managers and supervisors must place equal importance on employee development as they do on guests and customers. Today's workers don’t just expect a paycheck, but good employees also want personal fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment.

Reward and recognition programs are a vital part of creating a motivating work environment. A successful reward and recognition program does not have to be complicated to be effective. A well-administered program allows people to celebrate success, have fun, and feel good about who they are and whom they work for.

The size of your organization and the age of your workforce dictates which type of program works best. One organization improved motivation and almost eliminated turnover by creating a family environment including special incentives.

  • Every year employees celebrate their work anniversary with a cake and receive $100 for each year employed made out in a check.

  • Twice a year employees’ children receive a $50 savings bond when they bring in their “all A’s” report card.

  • They reward employees with a “Safety Bonus Program.” Each employee’s driving record is screened twice a year. Anyone who has a citation is removed from the program. Those employees remaining at the end of the year split $2000.

  • To minimize the “we-they” syndrome, every Friday employees rotate jobs for one hour. For example, the person in the Sales Department works on the front desk. Someone from Maintenance will work in the Customer Service etc. This builds a stronger team and improves communication within the company.
One of the easiest and most effective programs to initiate is peer recognition. Peer recognition gives employees the power to reward each other for doing a good job.

It works because employees themselves know who works hard and deserves recognition. After all, managers can’t be everywhere all the time, and employees are in the best position to catch people doing the right things.

Next Article: Examples of peer recognition programs.

Gregory P. Smith shows businesses how to build productive and profitable work environments that attract, keep, and motivate their workforce. He is the author of the book, Here Today Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High Turnover to High-Retention. He speaks at conferences, conducts management training, and is the President of a management consulting firm called Chart Your Course International located in Conyers, Georgia. Phone him at 770-860-9464. More articles available:

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