The Power of Incentives in the Workplace

Incentives
10 MIN READ
Adie Marais

Regardless of your business industry, incentives are a sure-fire way to boost morale among your sales team, agents, or vendors. This is arguably one of the most important ways to ensure that they stay driven and maintain their hard work. In turn, they will make more sales, increase revenue, and drive business growth. It is a known fact that giving incentives to employees can increase sales.

In contrast, delayed gratification is quite unproductive. It can reduce your employees' enthusiasm and feel less like a reward and more like a random bonus. It removes the association with hard work, and you probably won't see the same results.

The Power Of Incentives

The Power Of Incentives

Incentives are ways for businesses to boost growth and motivate their employees to work hard. By providing an incentive or reward, employees gain a sense of achievement once they’ve reached a goal.

Here are the major benefits of incentives in the workplace:

1. Increases Productivity

Productivity drives business, So what drives your employees to be productive ?. Appreciation, acknowledgment, and reward. Incentives offer something for them to work towards, helping them to hit targets and achieve goals. Thereby, it increases their motivation and productivity.

While not everyone will respond the same way to an incentive, it still sets a precedent for rewarding positive behavior and good work.  Give incentives to employees for increasing productivity.

2. Decreased Employee Turnover

Offering incentives for hitting sales targets kills two birds with one stone. Firstly, they are great for boosting the happiness and wellbeing of your employees. It lets them blow off steam, win prizes, and remain happy at work.

This can motivate them to stay longer at the business. So, these perks will improve employee retention and stop them from looking elsewhere - preventing a high turnover rate. This is great because a high turnover can reflect badly on your company.

Read the “Data-Backed (Damn Good) Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover”

3. Attracts New Talent

Glassdoor put out an article on the best benefits to provide your employees where 57% of candidates reported that incentives are one of their top considerations when looking at job offers.

So, incorporating incentives into your job benefit plan can be a powerful move that attracts top talent to your company!

4. Team Culture

Incentives and sales rewards could include team bonding trips that strengthen employee relationships. Multiple people might win and attend these, fueling a sense of mutual achievement and progress.

McKinsey claims that productivity improves 20-25% in a company with connected employees. So, incorporating these types of team-building incentives will strengthen those relationships and contribute to better work culture.

Why An Incentive Delayed Is An Incentive Denied

Incentive Delayed Is An Incentive Denied

Imagine looking forward to an incentive package only to be told there have been some delays, and you have to wait another 2 or 3 weeks to get it. You’d be disappointed, right?

We often fail to understand the importance of incentives. That's why delaying incentives is not fair to your employees who work hard to reach their goals. When they’re expecting a reward for all the hours they’ve put into a project but don’t receive it within a reasonable period of time; it minimizes the accomplishment. Then, when they finally do receive their reward, it might not feel connected to those goals that they had reached weeks ago.

This doesn’t reinforce positive work behavior, and employees won’t feel as driven to complete certain milestones as they know they won’t be rewarded immediately. Thus, a delayed incentive is actually an incentive that has been denied.

Let’s explore this concept a bit deeper and talk about the reasons behind it.

1. ASAP Economy & Instant Gratification

ASAP Economy & Instant Gratification

The increasing digitization of business processes leaves no room for delayed gratification. In this day and age, we want things, and we want them now. With online shopping and apps that allow us to do almost anything at just the touch of a button, we’ve seriously gotten used to doing things and receiving the benefits instantly.

Because of this, we’ve come to expect this instant gratification in all aspects of our lives - including in the workplace. It’s such a primal, natural response to have. We complete a task, get a reward, and feel accomplished and satisfied. Without having an enjoyable reward to look forward to when reaching a goal, your employees probably won’t feel as motivated to get to that point and therefore, won’t be as productive.

So, it makes sense that businesses should be moving towards a no-delay incentive scheme and closing the gap between performance and payout. This will improve employee engagement in the workplace and, by extension, they will contribute more effectively to business objectives.

2. Biological Reactions

Biological Reactions

The human desire for instant gratification is driven by our primal instincts, which prioritize short-term pleasure. Adrenaline drives humans to reach their goals. This is only fueled by the impulse of instant gratification as it releases dopamine - the body’s ‘happy neurotransmitter.’

When the brain anticipates a reward or accolades, such as sales incentives rewards, it stimulates dopamine production. This chemical is associated with the cycle of pleasure, motivation, and rewardan individual experiences a rush generating alertness and positivity.

When incentives are delayed, employees don’t get that rush of dopamine that makes them feel good. So, they won’t correlate their hard work with feelings of satisfaction and won’t be as motivated. Without the excitement and suspense of working towards a desired reward, there’s nothing to really look forward to. There’s no drive to complete the task at hand.

Our instinct that craves compensation in real-time can even be traced back to our caveman days. Our ancestors rarely knew when they were getting their next meal. They had to act fast and live in the moment.

So, providing rewards on time is crucial. When you don’t, your employees won’t experience the same positive feeling, and your incentive program probably won’t be as successful.

3. Building Relationships

Building Relationships


Impulsive behavior is increasingly defining business approaches, product strategies, and consumer experience. It is human nature. Think of when you click to skip a YouTube advert early. Now, place yourself in the shoes of your sales team. The incentive is the video, and the delay is the advert. Makes sense now, right?

Instant incentives foster a culture that is open, interactive, and healthy. For example, one study found that immediately rewarded people for completing tasks felt more motivated and productive overall. Even when the rewards were removed, they were still interested in the work and were more engaged. This proves the positive relationship between instant gratification and motivation.

Anticipating things within a certain time frame adds structure and discipline to the lives of your employees. Also, quick incentives can cement trust, for they reflect the value of an individual’s work.

It directly honors and acknowledges the service where credit is due. Thus, as an employer, you validate a promise made as part of a contract - making you someone that can be relied upon.

Wise leaders understand that the key to motivating a team is to engage their employees with timely incentives. It builds better, more trusting relationships, contributing to a happier work environment and increased job satisfaction.

4. Avoid Delayed Incentives

Avoid Delayed Incentives

We live in a fast-paced, data drive world. Therefore, incentives management must be dynamic, effective, and proactive to provide value and efficiency to a business.

While a quickly dispersed incentive gives employees a spring in their step, a delayed one sucks the joy out of work. This is a critical difference that you can’t overlook if you want to motivate your employees successfully.

By having a well-thought-out incentive program in place and using incentive software, you can ensure that your employees are never denied their incentives. With incentive automation, you no longer need to spend your time on manual calculations and payouts. Software like Compass can do it all for you!

Using incentive software, you can easily configure and manage your incentive program. It removes the risk of errors in payout calculations and distribution to employees.

Automated solutions can streamline incentive programs entirely. This conserves time and increases payment accuracy so that businesses can focus their resources on other important matters.

It also makes the incentives easy for your employees to redeem so that they never have to wait around to be rewarded for their hard work. From digital gift cards and entertainment tickets to travel and straight cash, having incentive software helps you give your employees what they want.

At the end of the day, streamlining your incentive program is great for business and ensures that you never deny your employees their incentives.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

Employee incentives take up a large portion of a company’s budget, and with good reason! They are an essential process in rewarding your employees and showing them your appreciation for their hard work. Thus, your employees stay positive, motivated, and more willing to give 110% back to a company that values them.

Delaying this gratification process severs the tie between hard work and reward. The two are no longer connected in the eyes of the employee, and their motivation takes a nose-dive. This is why incentives delayed are incentives denied.

Thus, it’s up to you to make sure that you have a good incentive system in place so that you can keep your employees motivated and productive.

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