Create incentive program rules that give all participants a chance to improve. Rules should be flexible, easy to understand, and fair to all. Best practices follow:
a. Utilize operant reward. Where incentive programs are over utilized, or run for too long of a period, they become part of the background and lose effectiveness.
b. Be careful what you wish for because you might get it. Ensure that rules work in concert with program financial objectives.
c. Quota based incentive are more effective than piece rate, tournament, or fixed rate incentives. If games are used, ensure minimum quotas must be met to participate.
d. Don’t shortchange participants and take care to ensure all participants view the program as fair. Once a program is viewed as unfair or not being on a level playing field, participation is likely to decrease.
Selecting the type of incentives or awards is an important aspect of ensuring an incentive program is successful. Best practices follow:
a. Identify the type of award that will motivate a particular group of participants to achieve the objectives.
b. When selecting award, take into accountparticipant hierarchy of needs, e.g., are individuals struggling to make ends meet and cash is more desired, or do participants have higher earnings and might enjoy winning a “trophy” such as recognition or a trip?
c .Maximize perceived value by taking into account(a) and (b). Target what participants could not receive on their own or might not otherwise spend money on.
d .When selecting awards, calculate the investment needed in an award needed to meet a program’s financial objectives, then choose an award.
f. Status counts with everyone, knowing how one participant ranks against the other in terms of winnings can be used to motivate performance; as in “look what I missed out on.” Playing on the prestige or “trophy” value of an award, should be an important consideration when selecting the range of items to award.
g. Finally, fun and creativity go a long way. Make awards fun and interesting.