How can Companies Do Rewards Differently?

- Motivation

by Sam at Management 3.0

Our company is unique in many ways. We don’t have numbered vacation days, we don’t have managers, we don’t have contracts. Another thing that we do differently is rewards and incentives. We don’t believe in bonuses at the end of the year for a job well done, but rather continuous peer-to-peer recognition, where people assign points which can then be converted into money. Over the years that’s been cause for conversation, disagreements and inspiration with other companies that do things differently or want to better understand our system.

In this blog we’ve compiled some of the most interesting blogs and podcasts about how people view incentives. Enjoy.

#1: Why we must separate recognition from rewards: Recognition expert and director of Workstars, Andrew Greenwood, says we have to turn off rewards and start with recognition, if we’re going to create thriving, engaged and loyal teams. Find out why trust is the key to peer-to-peer recognition and why micro incentives is the way of the future.

#2: Challenging the bonus system: In this special Management 3.0 podcast episode our team gets candid about how we give bonuses. Instead of year-end rewards, we give each other bonus points and reward behaviour on a continuous basis using something called merit money. Why is this system better than the classic reward structure and how do you know your colleagues won’t game the system if you use it?

#3: Why bonuses are counterproductive: Co-founder of Viisi, a mortgage advice company, Tom van der Lubbe, says any type of bonus goes against who we are as people and is counter productive.Find out how to really put “people first” in organizations and create a salary structure routed in psychological safety.

#4: 12 purpose-filled alternatives to the Christmas bonus: Rewards should not be expected, rewards should be peer-driven not top-down, and rewards should be continuous and small. So, as a manager or team leader, what is an appropriate gift for your teammates? Or how can you facilitate giving? And how can you do any of this in a way that contributes to a value-driven, purpose-driven company culture?

#5: Why employee motivation isn’t about a performance based bonus: Performance based bonuses are really, really bad. In short, it destroys motivation and disrupts collaboration. Using bonuses means the soft side of great performance – like teamwork and collaboration – are ignored and they increase people’s stress levels. (Remember what I wrote about how we can learn from baboons?) And finally, bonuses undermine intrinsic motivation and altruism.

#6: How to use merit money to change company practices: Rewarding people without destroying their motivation has been one of the top management challenges in companies employing knowledge workers. Unfortunately, the reward systems used by these organizations incentivize recognition through imaginary performance rather than real merits, causing an extremely negative impact on employee motivation.

How does your company give rewards? Do you do year-end bonuses or peer-to-peer recognition? Would you like to change from one system to another but are worried it won’t work? Share your thoughts with us below in the comments or contact us.

Photo credit Robert Anasch via Unsplash

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