Motivation and Incentives

Tom Gilbert has suggested that there are basically two types of deficient performers:

  • Those who cannot do whatever is demanded
  • Those who can but don't or won't

Employees respond to whatever incentives and disincentives are present in their work environment. The problem lies with incentives and disincentives that work against desired performance.

Cost effectively improve the value of your human capital. Design a work environment and culture with meaning and worth that is personally rewarding and emotionally engaging. Bring pleasure and a sense of joy to your employee's work.

Design a work environment that allows employees to see the big picture, cross boundaries, and to combine pieces into a new whole!  Find out what makes your employees tick, forge new relationships, and demonstrate care for others. Help employees pursue desires, purpose, and fulfillment.

These abilities comprise part of what it means to be human. Reward, recognition, and punishment, both extrinsic and intrinsic, is a critical determinant for producing quality performance. Equally important are feedback systems that permit performers to discover the effects of their activities and to adjust accordingly. 

Consequences influence performance and are a major part of Human Performance Improvement. We have to look at both the desired output and the undesired output in terms of consequences if we want to understand what is really going on. 

Behavioral principles:

  • People tend to do things with positive consequence and avoid things with negative consequences.
  • Small immediate consequences override big, threatening long-term consequences.

We need to focus on consequences to the organization and consequences to the individual within the organization to bridge the two.  We have to be very specific.

  • Issues include but are not limited to:
    • Is the effort greater than the reward?
    • Are the tasks boring?
    • Do employees feel the tasks have value?
    • Are there negative consequences for positive performance?
    • Are there positive consequences for positive performance?
  • Learn how to design a system to properly motivate and compensate your team, so that everyone thinks it’s fair.
  • Learn how to plan motivation design efforts, design policy/management/work time, design feedback/compensation/recognition systems, and work/physical conditions.
  • Design and coordinate motivation and incentive systems.

Substantial institutional friction can be removed simply by aligning organizational goals throughout the enterprise.

Want help in acquiring these skills? See the workshops section.

"It is important than an aim never be defined in terms of activity or methods.  It must always relate directly to how life is better for everyone. The aim of the system must be clear to everyone in the system.  The aim must include plans for the future.  The aim is a value judgment."
W. Edwards Deming




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