Today’s Recognition and Incentive Strategies Must Engage Employees, Not Manipulate Them

By John Schaefer, January 24, 2011 9:04 am

Bob Dawson of Business Group posed an interesting challenge to organizations regarding their use of incentive programs.  He suggests that it needs to be far more than just a list of prizes to win. 

I tend to see this as a game of perception.  What you see as “winning” and the reason it sends shivers down your spine, Bob, is because deep down (may not even that deep) we all know that the perception of the employee is a quick, poorly thought out Carrot and Stick situation . . . dangle a goodie, then subtly threaten with the stick behind your back.

Todays younger employees see this as nothing more than manipulation and whether they say it or not, rensent it every time.  The results are often just enough to win, or at the very least enough to not look bad to the boss; not the high levels of engagement, creativity and permanent performance improvement hoped for.

Going forward with out multi-generation al work force, Recognition and Incentive programs must be transformed in to comprehensive Communications Strategies with a training-based approach that engages the management team first, so they come across as educated, enthusiastic and genuine to the participants.

Then, tie it in with the company’s goals and objectives, involve all departments in the development, and launch in a way that employees feel like part of an exciting, relevant team, not just a bunch of cogs in a big machine.

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