3 Reasons Why Incentive Programs Fail to Increase Field Productivity

In order to keep workforces engaged and drive their continuous growth, companies need to thoroughly approach the development of impactful incentive programs. This is one of a few ways to connect with every individual on a personal level, honor their time and efforts, and successfully align these efforts with the goals of a company. However, the rules for incentive programs to be effective have changed, and unfortunately, more than half of workforces are not satisfied with their company’s current programs. So how can companies fix this?

What kinds of incentives drive field productivity in 2019?

2019 Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report shows that rewards are gradually changing their nature, while at the same time pointing out the ill-preparedness of companies to provide the rewards their people want. In fact, in total, 60% of workforces believe that their companies’ incentive programs are not effective.

Incentive programs

What’s interesting is that when workers were asked the main reasons why programs lagged behind, the most frequent answer was that companies simply didn’t understand what was important to them.

Incentive programs

So, the key step to making incentive programs work is finding out what workforces need and what they value, completely removing the guesswork. When rewards become personalized—adjusted to every individual’s needs—they motivate the right people to perform the right activities and, as a result, reach desired outcomes faster.

“We have a simple philosophy: Give the right reward for the right behavior at the right time,” said Matt Hall, general manager at Nu Skin, emphasizing that the development of the right incentive program comes down to a profound understanding of their field and their specific motivators. Once companies are clear on these motivators, their incentive programs will be an effective way to reinforce achievements and motivate to perform better.

The question is how can companies know what is the right reward for their field? In what ways can they gain insights into individuals’ needs without spending a lot of time and financial resources?

How to ensure that your company provides the right incentive programs

According to the latest research by Bersin™, companies that use data and analysis to understand the rewards preferences of their workforce are 6 times more likely to enjoy high performance. Fortunately, advances in technology now can make the delivery of rewards personalized for every individual. All you need is a robust data-driven tool that will turn data into actionable rewards for your distributed workforce.

At Rallyware, we use a proprietary Machine Learning engine built upon years of accumulated data to develop incentive programs that have been enhancing distributed workforce engagement and performance for more than six years. Thanks to thorough data analysis and emerged patterns, our system predicts the best-suited rewards for each individual to drive desired activities.

A data-driven approach to developing incentive programs is widely used by industry-leading companies that try to scale personalized rewards to meet the needs of their workforces. For example, Neil Morrison, former HR director of Penguin Random House, said that their organization has leveraged data and predictive analytics to study how rewards should be shaped to have the most impact on the bottom line. “That’s [involved] everything from understanding people with different backgrounds but the same job titles to the take-up of benefits and the specific value of certain ones,” he commented. The purpose was to see how specific rewards were impacting turnover and retention on the individual level and if the company should have kept investing in them.

Three major mistakes that decrease the impact of data-driven incentives

Even if you leverage data-driven tools to build incentive programs, your field may still not be motivated to perform activities. The reason lies in three mistakes companies make while introducing any kind of rewards.

  • When companies don’t support recognition with relevant training.

It’s obvious that you can’t expect a medical receptionist to perform a surgical operation successfully because they don’t possess the relevant competencies, and even if you promise them a brand new car as a reward, it won’t make any difference. This example is a bit hyperbolized, but you get the gist.

Sometimes incentive programs don’t work not because you offered the wrong or irrelevant rewards to your people but because they lack the knowledge or skills to complete a goal. So, for example, if a pharmaceutical company promises a cool bonus to their new sales reps for closing 5 deals by the end of the month, it needs to ensure that they know how to do so. Rewards should always be supplemented with relevant training modules that will support an incentive program and the completion of goals.

  • When companies recognize only its best people.

Have you ever experienced that feeling of unfairness when out of all students your teacher praised only the two straight A’s for passing the test with flying colors? But what about Bob who got a B+ instead of his usual Cs? What about Ashley who made fewer than five mistakes for the first time in three months? Will they be motivated to keep improving if their efforts were not recognized?

While developing your incentive program, make sure that it recognizes everyone’s efforts. Think about the motivational power it can create. Just set a goal, support it with relevant training, and then reward everybody who moves towards its achievement to turn your workforce into winners.

  • When companies don’t recognize everybody right from the start.

So you’ve decided to become a morning runner and get back in shape for summer. You’ve been waking up at 5:30 am and running for 40 minutes in the park for the whole week, but there are no visible results. Thoughts start creeping in and you think there’s no point in continuing. Unfortunately, not all of our efforts can be instantly gratified. However, when it comes to the development of an incentive program, you have to think about how you’re going to recognize your team for their efforts. This becomes crucial when it comes to new recruits, especially those who are miles away from the HQ.

“Providing immediate recognition for their first steps from someone at the company—a digital badge or congratulatory message–stronger connects them to the company,” explains George Elfond, CEO of Rallyware. Tech-enabled recognition is an effective way to bridge the isolation gap and show your appreciation to new recruits right from the first minutes of their joining.

The millions of workforces who chose to stay with their respective companies every day, dedicating their time and efforts, deserve rewards that matter personally to them. By leveraging a data-driven incentive program to deliver smart rewards to the right people at the right time, you will improve your workforce’s performance, keeping them motivated and happy.

Want to see how Rallyware can help you build a data-driven incentive program and grow your field productivity? Ask us for a demo!