Reward Your Employees Based on What They Can Control

A few years ago, I created a "thermometer" score board and posted it in a prominent place in the office. I let all the employees know that if we reached X goal of profit, they would all be rewarded with nice bonuses. I thought it was quite the brilliant idea. I thought that the transparency of the thermometer would make everyone feel included, motivated and excited.

It failed miserably.

It failed for two reasons 1) We didn't make the goal of the thermometer and employees didn't receive a nice bonus and 2) They felt like they had no real control over the success marked on the thermometer - the measurement being company profit. So they were never really engaged in the first place.

I learned an important lesson from a friend of mine who lost 50 lbs. and has kept it off for two years. She would reward herself based on her actions - exercise, eating well, not eating that piece of chocolate cake etc. She did NOT reward herself based on how many pounds she lost. She knew that her actions of exercising more and taking in fewer calories would result in weight loss AND that if she always looked to the scale for affirmation of her efforts she would be disappointed on occasion and her morale would plummet.

The thermometer was the scale. And morale did plummet whenever we missed a monthly goal. The value of employees was unfairly being measured on results they couldn't completely control.

So #6 is Reward/Incentivize/Appreciate employees based on the actions they can control.

Appreciate your financial person for getting A/R in quicker. Thank your sales rep for making the 50 sales calls she said she would make. Thank your customer service employees for high customer satisfaction ratings.

Consistent correct actions by your employees will result in more revenue and better profit. Each individual within your company needs to know the answers to the following:

1) What is my daily critical action that helps the company?

2) How is it measured?

3) What are my low, medium and high goals?

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