So it’s likely you’ve heard the token phrase that a lot of (great?) husbands like to throw around: “Happy wife, happy life.” The nugget of advice you can take away from this little phrase I guess is that if your wife is happy, you’re life will be much easier. If she’s not, then you might be in for a world of hurt until she’s happy. While I’m not going to advocate this school of thought, I can say that the phrase does make a good point. So, why not apply it to the workplace? “Happy employee, productive, hard-working employee.” OK,it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well, but think about it. If you are a happy employee with incentives to motivate you to be a hard worker, won’t you be just that? A lot of career experts and consultants today are saying that in order to keep your employees happy, on board and hard working you need to take care of them and offer reasons for them to stay. If those reasons are in the form of incentives, then you’re on the right track.
Granted, the job market is not up to par- we all know this. Millions of people still need jobs and thousands of people still hold onto jobs they absolute hate simply because they really have no choice. For some, perhaps even most that are unhappy with their job, the situation is: work a job you hate or work no job at all. I’m willing to bet most will go with the former. However, things are starting to brighten up a bit and that means that employees are starting to weigh their options. With more job openings than six or eight months ago, employees are starting to realize that they no longer have to put up with that horrible boss, that difficult coworker or their awful job. More importantly, employers are starting to realize that they can’t get away with what they may have been able to only just months ago.
With more job options for employees, employers need to make sure they are keeping their workers satisfied and happy. How can they do that? One word: incentives. It seems as though incentive programs are gaining popularity as employers start to realize that good pay and a 401k is not enough to keep their employees on for good. Even though it seems that money is the ultimate motivator, most incentive programs are more well-rounded. For instance, if you have a team that is working hard on solving a tech issue and they resolve it way ahead of schedule, you can consider getting your team free lunch or offering a casual day if your business is usually otherwise. It doesn’t always have to be money.
This way, next time an issue comes about or a project needs to be finished pronto, employees will remember how they were rewarded last time for getting the job done ahead of schedule and they will work towards doing it again. It’s a way to show your employee that you value their work and a great way to say, “hey, I notice your hard work and I want you to know that it is really valued in this company.” Without such attention, this hard working employee may feel as though their work is going unnoticed and will jump ship for an employer that will notice them. Plus, if they are making you or your company more money, why not reward them for their work? Statistics show and experts say that companies with incentive programs have employees that take less sick days, are more productive and are less likely to quit. Isn’t that what every employer wants?
This is all true, but it must also be said that without proper management, an incentive program can become a bit of an issue for your company. If not managed the right way and monitored often, employees receiving incentives can start to feel like they are entitled to these incentives. They can start to think that every time they do something right they need to be promptly rewarded for it. That is why it is so important for an employer to make sure they make their program clear. Employers need to make sure they tell their employees exactly why they are receiving their rewards and for how long it will last. In other words, as an employer you need to have a good hold on this program and you need to understand when and why rewards are given out. On top of that, you need to convey that understanding to your employees.
When dealt with properly, incentive programs can be the best way to keep your employees happy and as productive as ever. What do you think of incentive programs? Do you work for an organization or company that employs one? How does it work? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or tweet me at @nicole_spark.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Delaware Employment Law
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