Incentive - June 2008 - (Page 24)

INTERVIEW By Andrea Doyle Incentives Are a Leap of Faith n their book, Contented Cows Moove Faster, co-authors Bill Catlette (far left) and Richard Hadden (far right) describe companies that include Marriott, Southwest Airlines and Chick-fil-A as organizations that “get it.” They are companies whose employees put extra “oomph!” in their work, the pair says. Unfortunately, the majority of today’s companies don’t “get it.” “The challenge is having the ability to see beyond the next quarterly report,” explains Hadden. “We must have the philosophy that we are in business for the long term and that, although treating employees right may cost more in the short term, the return is going to be many times over.” As the country faces economic challenges, now seems a good time to be concerned about sustaining motivation in the workplace, according to the pair. When budgets get tight, incentives are generally the first to go—a big mistake, they say. “The only way organizations are going to survive an uncertain economy is with the willing and enthusiastic support of a focused, fired-up and capably led workforce. The threat of losing one’s job has lost a lot of its power. In general, workers are less loyal to their employers than in the past. Many For Some, I already have entrepreneurial aspirations, and we’ve talked to many who are of the mind that ‘if I lose my job, I’ll go out and do my own thing, and compete favorably with my former employer,’” says Catlette. There are many ways to get employees engaged, according to Catlette and Hadden. They include: • Make sure people have what they need to do their best work. • Train, train, train. • Make sure the systems and policies work for, not against, the organization’s mission. • Recognize the need for people to balance their work and their personal lives. • Show appreciation in small, routine, everyday ways, plus in more systematic, strategic ways, by having a system that provides clear targets and valuable rewards for hitting and exceeding those targets. Say thank you, something not enough leaders do. • Recognize that when it comes to rewards, recognition and incentives, one size does not fit all. One size fits one. The more flexible and tailored an incentive program is, within reason, the more effect it will have on individuals’ motivation. • If, as a leader, you expect people to go above and beyond on behalf of the business, you must be willing to go above and beyond for them. Go out of your way, especially when people are having a hard time, individually or organizationally. • Give clear, honest, helpful feedback. • Be more visible and present. Catlette and Hadden are big proponents of incentive rewards and programs. There is the potential for them to foster undesirable competition, but when managed well, they foster healthy competition and kick up performance, the two say. Misguided rewards are those that are not well-conceived, and that, in fact, result in behavior counter to what we want. For example, a zero-sum reward system that allows individuals to be rewarded only at the expense of a coworker’s reward. Or a system that causes people to do things for their benefit, but which are detrimental to the organization, they say. They believe the whole purpose of rewards and incentives is to motivate people to better perform, for the benefit of themselves, the organization, its customers and its owners. “It is not to emulate a socialist state 24 | Incentive | June 2008 | Photo: Kelly LaDuke

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - June 2008

Incentive - June 2008
Editor’s Note
In The News
Cover Story: Seventh Annual Industry Roundtable
Incentive Interview
Case Study
Soft Incentives
Empowerment and Engagement
The Incentive Career
Incentive Primer
Travel News: Where To Go and What To Do
The Cook Islands
Field Report: Bermuda
Potentials: Here and Now
50 Top Motivators: The Best of the Best
Electronics: High-end Audio Equipment
Gift Cards: Should One Be Enough?
Advertiser Index
Off The Cuff

Incentive - June 2008