People power can get you better results

It’s often said that people can only feel truly engaged and committed to an organisation, if they have a stake in it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean share options. Commitment is also generated by empowerment. Being given the tools to do their job as best they can, being given scope to choose different way to do their job, rather than following a proscriptive path or even, choosing one’s own incentive. An old friend of mine who was involved in dealer motivation with a forward thinking automotive brand once said to me ‘If they want a Ferrari, I’m happy to give it to them, as long as they earn it’. His view was that pre-selected rewards, chosen by individuals at the start of a campaign, helped them buy in to the overall objective (in this case sales). He was more than happy to reward a salesman with a Ferrari as long as that same salesman knew exactly how many sales they needed to achieve in order to receive it. Quite simply, the target becomes the Ferrari.

Such thinking over the years has developed into a plethora of schemes. A call centre we worked with recently asked participants to visualise their dream holiday, holding out the possibility that they could actually go on it if they continually met agreed performance targets. Recently, another automotive client asked its dealers to choose a high, mid or low target. The rewards were far better for the mid and top range targets, but if you failed, you achieved nothing. And finally, a very forward thinking client has put forward a tempting offer to its participants. Every incentive pound earned that they choose to put into a training budget was doubled by the organisation. Training could be provided more cost effectively than buying in ipods for example. In tough times this gives the participant ownership of their incentive and offers the opportunity for additional training or career advancement, readying them for the return of better times. Simple, but effective. Should you ask whether you can make better use of ownership in your incentives?

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