While most motivational programs involve motivating salespeople to increase sales, you can inspire any employees by using incentives. Your small business’ program doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive to be effective.
Determine What Actions to Encourage
First, decide what behavior you want to reward, e.g.
– “most helpful employee of the month”*
– “most customer signups” for your membership site (email list)
– “highest customer satisfaction” ratings”
– “most sales for your product of the month”
– “most service contract renewals”
– “best safety briefing”
– “best quality performance for the month”
*One employer had both employees and management vote on this award.
Set the Qualifications
You need to tell people what they have to do win. You also want to spell out any extra behavior needed to avoid too many repeats by the same person or everyone else stops caring, like my friend who won “best safety briefing” five months in a row. The squadron flight safety officer didn’t choose him for several months so others would strive to win. There was also the best dining hall in the Air Force competition that wouldn’t let a dining hall win twice in a row so that others would continue to compete.
Reward with Recognition
Fortunately for small business owners, other things besides money motivate people. For example, people respond to recognition. As one friend said, people love “bragging rights.” This is where you get to be creative. Ask yourself how can you inspire people to make a little additional effort?
Examples of Recognition Awards
– Issue digital badges for accomplishments
– Present “Top Gun” T-shirt to the Top Producer on the sales team
– Frame their pictures and mount on plaques with name and award title then hang plaques publicly in the store
– Confer special name badges with name and award, e.g. “April 2014 Team Leader”
– Give colorful commemorative pins
– Provide babysitting service for winner and spouse to have a night out
– Reserve special winner’s parking space
– Give a day off with pay
Three Tips for Making the Award Meaningful
Show you care and value your people with their different personalities, values and needs.
– Have a celebration when giving the award. Make a big deal of it event, like a sales meeting or office meeting for those who love public recognition.
– Avoid gifts that insult the receiver, e.g. booze to alcoholics and people who don’t drink for religious reasons or a ham to a Jewish person or Muslim
– If someone is shy or doesn’t like to be put in front of people, present the award privately
Giving recognition is one of the best and least expensive ways to motivate employees to focus attention on actions you want to see improved. First, you decide what you want done then set the criteria to win. These eight examples should spark your imagination. Awards can be inexpensive while still being meaningful. Be sure, though, to apply these tips to show you really care.
More from this contributor:
First Person: Do You Motivate or Inspire Your Sales Team?
First Person: Marginal Utility Value and Motivating Employees
First Person: Structuring a Profit Sharing Plan to Motivate Employees