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What Should Be Incentivized and What Shouldn’t?

Incentivizing employees is a proven way to encourage your workers to perform better and become more productive. In addition, it can also serve to make your employees more engaged.

However, it’s important to understand that incentives can backfire if they’re not well thought out. For example, if you tie bonuses to production numbers, make sure those numbers are realistic — or else the quality of the product might suffer. If you have a customer service department, make sure incentives are tied to the number of cases a representative successfully solves — not merely to the number of calls they take.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s look at some employee incentive programs with demonstrated track records of success, as well as other incentive concepts that have proven to be less effective.

Best Employee Incentives

The following employee incentives — when thought out carefully and well-supported — can help encourage quality control, productivity and company-wide morale:

  • Production incentives: It’s always nice to be rewarded for a job well done. If that job entails a rush order or other complex aspects of production, employees are often encouraged to go the extra mile when they’re rewarded for meeting tight deadlines and related requirements.
  • Benchmarks instead of time: If your production line can support it, sometimes it’s refreshing for employees to be given benchmarks to meet. If a team meets all of its benchmarks, you can reward your workers by giving them a longer lunch break or the rest of their paid shift off.
  • Process improvements: Whenever incentive programs reward employees for suggesting improvements to processes and/or the elimination of wasteful practices, the entire organization and its customers win. Remember that every process improvement incentive is actually an investment in a leaner, more valuable company.
  • Profit-sharing: Always check with your finance department to see how profit-sharing incentives can be best paid out — and what tax burdens they may or may not create. If feasible, profit-sharing incentives for employees can help create a shared vision and enthusiasm for enterprise-wide success.

Employee Incentives Ideas to Avoid

Sometimes, even the best of intentions can fall far short of their intended results. Here are a couple of instances when incentive programs can have a detrimental effect on your workforce:

  • Safety incentives: It’s a topic so hotly debated that even OSHA has noted the unintentional consequences of many safety incentive programs. On more than one occasion, when only workers or teams that have had no injuries are eligible for an incentive, many choose to not report and/or hide mishaps and injuries — and that endangers the entire production instead of supporting occupational safety.
  • Overly competitive programs: You know your workers, which is why you want to avoid offering incentive programs that put employees in direct competition with each other. These can ruin morale and can end up having a negative impact on performance.

Contact MANTEC for Proven Types of Incentives for Employees

For over 30 years, MANTEC has been helping manufacturers across South Central Pennsylvania achieve their business potential. As a private, non-profit 501(c)3 with a specialty in workforce development, we can expertly advise your business on the choice and adoption of employee incentive programs.

Put our workforce experience to work for your business — contact ustoday.

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