In many companies, especially in industries such as sales and IT, finding the right way to incentivize employees has always been quite a struggle. Human resources usually follow straightforward, cursory—and often outdated—compensation models, strategies, and performance evaluation systems.
The problem with these traditional methods is that they are unable to accurately capture what’s going on in the organization in terms of employee behavior and motivation, and what the specific problem areas are that need to be focused on.
And the problem does not end there. Actual implementation and operationalization of compensation, rewards, and benefits are other areas that need to be hurdled. Often, complex calculations and human error lead to inaccurate, delayed payouts.
While management may seek to plan and strategize compensation and rewards proactively, data is usually unavailable real-time, and thus, the analysis is equally slow. Management decisions are therefore not genuinely responsive and adaptive.
Fortunately these days, high-tech tools such as incentive compensation management solutions make it so much easier for businesses and enterprises to fix and enhance their systems for bonuses, rewards, and even noncash payouts and promotions. These kinds of solutions address all the problems that companies have traditionally faced when it comes to compensation, prizes, and incentives.
However, management should delve deeper into talent management and human resources issues as well. Is the company structured in the right way to drive the right motivation for employees? Are the company goals ultimately in line with the objectives set for individuals, groups, and teams? Most importantly, are the organizational values expressed and substantiated in day-to-day work and operations?
Any type of technological solution will not work unless the right systems are in place that makes proper use of human behavior and motivation. Compensation, rewards, and incentives may even be driving the wrong type of attitude and behavior among employees.
IT personnel, for instance, who are paid by the hour may take longer to solve problems or be driven to demand overtime because they obviously want to earn more by clocking in more hours. One-time fees, on the other hand, do not inspire workers to cultivate long-term relationships with customers, which is more valuable for the company in terms of stable, recurring income.
Sales are also often viewed as a numbers game, where an increasing number of contracts snagged is seen as impressive. But beyond the surface, this race toward success may come at the price of not being able to assess client needs and provide an effective solution genuinely. Sellers may also benefit from commissions, but these contracts may be of little value to the enterprise.
Right employee behavior
There are many ways to strike a happy balance that brings profitability for the business owners, as well as personal and financial satisfaction for employees. Old methods need to be re-thought, and psychology needs to be put into play properly to attain a win-win situation for everybody. Consider the following tips and strategies:
1. Reward based on metrics
Remember the SMART rule—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Set specific metrics for individuals as well as groups for their incentives. Instead of just looking at projects or tasks, measure aspects such as time to completion, number of issues resolved in a day, and so on.
2. Look at the overall performance
Those aspects mentioned earlier all lead to one thing, and that is customer satisfaction. The qualitative measure is also very important in instituting rightful rewards and incentives. Customer feedback mechanisms should be in place to truly recognize employees that excel.
3. Compensate sales based on recurring income
It further reinforces focus on customer satisfaction through long-term relationship building, rather than singular or opportunistic transactions. Most often, maintaining and expanding current contracts and clients is less costly for enterprises rather than exploring and snagging new ones.
Utilizing compensation and incentive solutions is not enough if the right employee behavior is not present. Business owners need to be careful that they are not rewarding unwanted behavior—and that they are not punishing desired behavior as well.