Money isn't everything when it comes to providing incentives that keep people engaged and enthused.
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"Money” – this is the classic response I hear from delegates attending one of my training sessions when I move on to the topic of rewarding performance. The reality is during these tough economic times funds are not always available for rewarding staff. So what options do you have when there is little or no budget available?
Think of what a business developer does when they go out to meet a client. They ask questions to find out the needs of the client. Well it’s no different in this situation. You have to find out what your people need to be more satisfied with their job, and what might re-energise and stimulate them and keep them as active participating members of your team.
You need to think laterally and creatively yourself. Firstly, bear in mind there will be a range of different personalities in your team, who will be motivated in different ways. Find out what excites and makes each person tick. What ‘lights their fire’? Talk to them and listen (the ‘two ears and one mouth approach.’ – they do most of the talking).
They will tell you what they like and don’t like about their current and previous work responsibilities. So, this could be on the positive side, that they enjoy working on x type of project, or with y team or that they want more individual projects to do where they can problem solve on their own, developing a resolution from start to finish.
Once you know what is important to each person, link this interest to your business needs. On some occasions this will be a straight forward exchange of information. On other occasions you have to ‘sell’ the concept of their work being expanded or changed in some way.
As a rule of thumb when employees find jobs exciting, challenging and interesting they do better. So, bear this in mind to make assignments more meaningful. In what way? Through job enrichment or job enlargement.
Job enrichment is the addition to a job or tasks that increase the amount of employee control or responsibility. It is a vertical expansion of the job as opposed to the horizontal expansion of a job, which is called job enlargement.
A brief word about job enlargement. This is a process that increases the scope of the job through extending the range of its duties and responsibilities. In the manufacturing environment it can take away the monotony of doing just one task repeatedly.
For example, instead of building just one component part of a humidifier a team builds the entire product from start to finish. It’s important to ensure that the employee can see how their work affects others. In enlarging a job, you need to make sure you are giving more responsibility and more variety, not just more work.
So how do you ‘sell’ the concept of job enrichment? By saying that better performance might lead to:
an opportunity to work in a different office / be transferred to the international division
more autonomy in performing assignments
work on an assignment that the person has indicated they are keen to work on
work with a different group
more varied duties
Of course, what you have to bear in mind is that before you even talk about job enrichment or enlargement you make sure that the current working conditions i.e. how they are supervised / facilitated, what is expected of them, is to a mutually agreed standard. If this part of your relationship with the person or team you wish to reward for good performance is not as it should be, then any attempts to increase satisfaction are likely to be sterile.
‘Far and away the best prize life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.’
There is another form of motivation to bear in mind – intrinsic motivation. Certain individuals with a high need for achievement set themselves moderately difficult but potentially achievable goals. Achievement motivated people are not gamblers.
They would only behave like this if they can influence the outcome. So, if you are managing a person with these characteristics set them a moderately challenging problem to resolve, with a moderate degree of risk, because they would feel their abilities and effort will influence the outcome. Personal achievement is the driver for this individual. They don’t reject financial reward but it is not an essential as the accomplishment itself.
And finally, I believe that great philosopher Bob Dylan summarises this well. “What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night, and in between does what he wants to do!”