Creating pride in and loyalty to the company is key to generating revenue-increasing employee performance. In order to cultivate those sentiments in their workforces, many businesses turn to incentive programs that recognize strong performance. Not all incentive programs are created equal, however, with many outdated employee-of-the-month efforts doing more harm than good to organizational morale. In order to effectively incentivize today’s workforces to help grow company revenue, leaders should consider other strategies as well.
Provide Plans for Reaching Goals
The math is simple: more sales equals more revenue. Even in the most altruistic-minded organizations, though, employees are less likely to get a warm, fuzzy feeling about increasing the company’s worth than about receiving a quarterly bonus check or an upgraded company car. In most companies, the problem isn’t the incentives themselves but the communication about how employees can go about attaining them. Too many companies simply take a “sell more, get this” approach that’s akin to coaches telling their athletes, “If you want to win the race, run faster.”
Company leadership can modernize ineffective incentive programs and help employees earn rewards in several ways. One is to clearly communicate which products to focus on. Another effective strategy is to provide incremental sales goals (as opposed to one big, pie-in-the-sky incentive). Leaders can also give regular shoutouts to employees for even the smallest milestones, such as completing their first sale or selling to a new client.
Flexible Work Schedules
Although all of the classic performance perks (e.g., cash bonuses, company vehicles, more paid time off) still carry plenty of weight, in the era of remote work businesses need to get a little more creative in order to keep their employees motivated. When employees see other professionals doing similar jobs from home (and getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep by skipping the morning commute), they can quickly sour on an environment in which they feel imprisoned by the 9-to-5 timeclock. When possible, most people prefer to work remotely at least occasionally. Therefore, if a company’s infrastructure allows flexible schedules for employees, leaders should make them part of an incentive package. They can give employees who reach certain milestones one flex day a week, for example, or reward continued performance excellence with diminishing time-in-the-office requirements (and the freedom to log the remaining work hours from other locations).
In addition to increasing employee motivation, greater leniency with remote work can actually reduce the cost of employee benefits. This has an added impact on company revenue by lowering utilities consumption and reducing the need for office space.
With most Americans now paying monthly fees for entertainment streaming and online fitness services, it’s clear that subscriptions to digital services are now a way of life. At a relatively small cost to the company, an employee gift subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Peloton, or other service could go a long way toward providing the type of lifestyle benefits that resonate with a contemporary workforce and fuel strong performance.
Tuition and Training Reimbursements
In an economy rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, many displaced and current employees are concerned about their viability in a job market increasingly shaped by remote work, automation, and other factors1. Consequently, many of them are interested in pursuing upskilling or reskilling opportunities. By reimbursing employees for tuition and training costs, companies not only signal their interest in workers’ skill development but also improve their in-house talent pools (and thus decrease future recruitment costs by being able to promote current employees into some senior positions).
Elite Employee Benefits
Despite the emergence of other enticing incentives, the staple fringe benefits—health, dental, and vision insurance; retirement contributions—still resonate quite strongly with employees. (For example, over half of respondents to one survey said they would give “heavy consideration” to a job with low pay but better health, dental, and vision benefits over a job with high pay but worse benefits.2 ) As a result, when it comes to rewards for strong performance, an increase in employer-covered insurance and retirement contributions may motivate employees more than a one-time cash bonus. Keeping in mind the rule of thumb that an employee’s total cost to a company is their base salary plus their benefits, leaders should look into ways that funds appropriated for performance bonuses can be spread out to offer a more appealing benefits package.
Incentivizing the workforce is a great way to drive employee performance that will have a positive effect on company revenue. However, not all incentives achieve the same (or even intended) results. By adding more options to their toolbox of incentive strategies, leaders can find the solutions that work that best at increasing their employees’ productivity and yield higher revenues for the organization.
1 Heather Long. 2021. “Millions of Jobs Probably Aren’t Coming Back, Even After the Pandemic Ends.” The Washington Post online, February 17, www.washingtonpost.com/road-to-recovery/2021/02/17/unemployed-workers-retraining.
2 Kerry Jones. 2020. “Employee Benefits Study: The Cost and Value of Employee Perks.” Fractl website, June 10 www.frac.tl/employee-benefits-study.