New information shows non-monetary work goals are just as effective as cash incentives. We look at ways to set targets that get the best from your employees.
A new study from the University of Leicester found non-binding goals, where no financial reward or punishment was associated with success or failure, were just as effective as monetary targets in incentivising staff.
Here are a few ways to drive your employees forward without breaking the bank.
1. Let them set their own goals
While it’s tempting to impose targets on staff, they’ll get much more satisfaction if they help plan their goals. Giving staff a say in their working life in general is a great driver and fosters an atmosphere of mutual respect and engagement.
Your staff will also have a more realistic view of what’s attainable for them. It’s no use setting goals they can’t reach.
• Practical example: Speak with your staff about which areas they are struggling with and target this.
2. Gamifying the work
Game theory is often used in marketing and sales, but can also work in the office.
Websites like TripAdvisor and Amazon use it for reviewers, giving them titles like ‘Top Reviewer’.
By offering points, titles or a league table you give your employees something to aim for and create some friendly competition in the office.
• Practical example: You could have a sales target cup or star ratings for those who hit their goals fastest.
3. Make goals measurable
Goals should always be measureable so you can track changes. It’s no use setting goals like improving your working flow, when you can’t measure workflow.
It’s also a good idea to set time limits and to check how the work was done. You don’t want staff hitting the targets at the expense of the quality of the work.
• Practical example: Maybe make the goals ‘respond to all missed calls within 10 minutes’ or ‘get 20 retweets on Twitter this week’.
4. Mix up goal size
Some people like to plan for long term goals while others thrive under the pressure of short term projects.
By having a mixture of tasks, you keep your employees focussed on day-to-day goals and on the overall business plan of the company.
• Practical example: It’s not just length of time you can change – you could set people mini tasks like clearing up their desk every Friday while others might prefer larger ones, such as bringing in 2 new clients a month.
5. Make the goals matter
Perhaps most important of all is that the goals should matter.
They should help your employees grow and improve, provide better working systems, increase office efficiency and make everyone happier.
• Practical example: Have a 6 month review with staff to pinpoint areas they’ve shown an interest in and target these.,