Employee Incentive Programs
Improving Employee Morale and Organisational Performance
by Bay Jordan
Improving Employee Motivation
We have already examined the problems of PRP (Performance Related Pay), one of a wide range of employee incentive programs, as a tool for improving individual motivation and organisational performance. PRP is ultimately just an incentive scheme and most employee incentive programs are based on providing stimulants - external factors which, rather like a shot of adrenalin, boost performance temporarily, but in the end do little to change long term behaviour patterns.
Most employee incentive programs fail to recognise that people only change when they want to change and long term behavioural change has to come from within.
Intention is not enough. One only has to think of the number of broken New Year resolutions to recognise this. Consequently, it is self-evident that PRP has only a limited shelf-life as a primary change agent, although it can (and should) be a key secondary force once the desire to change has been established.
The Main Challenge
In order to achieve long term improvements in both individual motivation and organisational performance, you have to tackle the central question:
How do you get employees to want to change?
The answer has to be:
- To find a way of building on the employee's own self-motivation.
Key to this is recognising the fact that:
- Nobody ever really wants to do a bad job.
This means that poor performance is not the problem, but rather:
- Poor performance is the symptom of another, more fundamental problem with the organisation. This problem acts as a barrier to good performance.
Thus, if you want to improve the performance within your company, you have to:
- Remove the barriers to better performance.
And in order to identify what those barriers are, you have to start by recognising:
- The person best placed to understand what is inhibiting performance is the employee doing the job.
This approach is becoming more widely accepted and embraced by the terms "employee empowerment" and "employee engagement". Yet it is still only an enlightened few that have delivered this effectively, probably because they are still looking at the issue from an organisational standpoint rather than holistically.
Employee motivation is ultimately self-motivation and the only way in which to guarantee motivated employees is:
- to align their self-interest with those of the organisation, and
- to create a meaningful partnership/joint venture.
This is more that just the potential to increase earnings, but entails truly recognising employees as the human assets they are claimed to be and treating them as such.
If you would like more information on how to remove the barriers to performance, and how better to engage and motivate employees, contact Bay Jordan.