Many might question the need for carrots – incentives – during a recession like this. They might assume that the stick – the possible threat and fear of redundancy hanging over staff – would be sufficient to motivate them to do their utmost for the business and themselves.

So how many organisations have seen greater levels of engagement, improved productivity or witnessed the majority of their workforce ‘going the mile’ in recent years? In my experience far too few, unless of course the company in question is motivating their staff by offering attractive rewards for their efforts.
Staff can only be inspired to take on the challenge of growing business, retaining key accounts and improving customer service in such a tough climate if they are given the chance to benefit from their efforts. This is particularly true as the majority will have taken on additional work since the start of the recession and may feel they are already struggling with such increased pressures.
At a time when prices are rising but salaries are failing to keep up with the cost of living (if you are lucky enough to receive a rise at all), staff welcome the chance to earn rewards that, in line with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, give them the opportunity to protect the standard of living they enjoy. This can be delivered through a variety of means, including gift cards, vouchers, holidays, merchandise, anything that they, as an individual, value highly and will feel motivated to receive.
A well-structured and communicated staff incentive scheme will provide the framework needed to help organisations achieve their goals, whether it is to increase sales, improve customer service, recognise employee contributions through peer to peer recognition, or any other objective. Such schemes are necessary to keep staff inspired and focussed while creating a positive atmosphere at work; did the waving of the stick ever achieve this?
Giving staff the opportunity to fulfil their intrinsic needs by offering rewards is the only tried and tested method to weather the storm of recession.
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