People & Human Resources

The best incentive program that fits all businesses

Sue-Ellen Watts /

At wattsnext we are regularly asked about the best bonus or incentive program to implement within a business.

Nine out of ten questions are focused around the best way calculate the bonus or commission. Often no matter how much effort is put into the best possible calculation, it is still complicated and riddled with a number of scenarios that could lead to either team disharmony or gaps in the measurement and monitoring.

While incentive programs will always vary depending on the industry, position and business and there isn’t a one size fits all scheme, there is one element that is common amongst every organisation regardless of any of the above. This is actually the first and most important question to ask when considering and creating an incentive program, well before doing any calculations.

The question is: “What behaviours do we want more of’?”

The first thing to really understand around staff incentives is to know what you want to see your people do more of. It sounds really simple and obvious but it is often the simple and obvious that we overlook. We believe business is complicated so we make sure it is!

What would actually make a difference in your business tomorrow? Is it the way your team interact with clients, whether they follow company processes, or how they play together in the sandpit? Every business is different and the needs of every business is different at different times. What you want from your people last year may be different to next year.

So before you start coming up with the best spreadsheets and calculations with your accountant on how to incentivise your staff, stop and take a moment to understand what you actually need them doing more of and make it centred around that.

You never know, the best incentive program and reward may not be what what you thought … and it may actually get you results!

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Sue-Ellen Watts

Sue-Ellen Watts is the founder of wattsnext, specialists delivering relevant HR for the modern world to SMEs across the globe.

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