Incentives – what do YOU do?

My wife and I were talking about incentives used in business the other day, and a healthy discussion arose around how far we go in creating or providing incentives that people really want.  Here’s what insipred the discussion:

A few years ago, a person that Linda works with earned an incentive prize for her efforts in a particular area.  The reward was an item that most people would want, yet the recipient refused it and said, “here’s what I’d really like…”  Linda reminds me that I told her that an incentive is only valuable if someone wants it, and that if the recipient was telling her she wanted, we should provide that.

(The side note here is that the above behavior can also be deemed as manipulative, so we have to watch out for that, too.)

Here’s where I go back and forth, and would love to get  your perspectives.  I still truly believe that incentives need to be meaningful, but how far do we go?  I know it’s probably a little pie-in-the-sky to think that everyone is going to be appreciative that they got something, and recoginze the fact that they were rewarded for their efforts.  This brings to mind the topic of meaningful recognition in general, but that’s another post for another time.

So the question I pose to all of you is: How far do you go to create incentives that you think people will want?  What are the pros and cons?

Leave a comment or send us your thoughts by clicking here.


One thought on “Incentives – what do YOU do?

  1. Last week we had a “Town Meeting.” This happens about twice a year where we bring our Hosts together to give them various information so that we can all get on the “same page.” Last week we had our first one of this year and had the best attendance we have ever seen at a Town Meeting. However, at this Town Meeting, we offered a special Dollywood 25th anniversary pin to each person that attended. The pin is only for season pass holders and employees. We didn’t know that by offering something so small, but with obvious value, that our attendance would increase so much. Our true focus was communication to our employees, thus better, cohesive information to our Guests, however an incentive (that we didn’t even know was an incentive initially) will help the company in the immediate future.

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