Question: I want to provide cash incentives to my non-sales staff to motivate them each quarter, but I'm not sure what to measure. What is one suggestion?
Reward Staff for Solving Problems
"The cash reward should be for solving problems that you want to be solved. For example, a huge part of our business is in expanding our reach. I incentivize one of my employees with cash bonuses for getting our brand published in large publications, or for procuring high profile guests for our radio show. These actions are huge wins for our brand and we reward that effort commensurately."
Encourage Peer-to-Peer Bonuses
"We have a tradition at Uncorked Studios called sabrage bonuses, named after the practice of opening a champagne bottle with a sword. Any employee can bonus their colleagues for exemplary work, whether it's helping out on a presentation, staying up late writing code, or helping out in a pinch. The bonus amount is small ($50) but the value of peer recognition is worth way more."
Measure in Quartlery Blocks
"We have quarterly blocks each month. While several of them are KPI related, several of them are not. We try to put incentives on these other initiatives. They can be anything from getting a new product ready for market to implementing a new system."
Use OKRs and Set Reach Goals
"Focus your entire team on their Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a system that Google, LinkedIn and plenty of other companies use. Every project your teammates have needs to have quantifiable goals that together will help you reach your company-wide targets. We break these down into basic goals and reach goals; you can provide a cash incentive for those who hit their upper target!"
Measure Every Role's "Outcome" Focus
"Every role in an organization exists to achieve some outcome. Nail down this outcome and develop some way to measure whether they are achieving the target. Incentives can be based on moving toward, achieving or exceeding the target. Examples include accuracy, efficiency, timeliness, use of less resources, higher customer feedback score and so on. Most important outcomes are not easily measured."
Push for Efficiency
"We are a brand and digital agency with staff on the creative or development side of the business. The creative approach has its challenges and possibly can push back the completion date. Cash incentives made our team take a more intimate approach with the workload and understand the importance of deadlines. The team is now constantly pushing to better our project shelf-life and improve margins."
Focus on Customer Retention
"I have always believed that it is the job of sales people to bring in the business, but the job of non-sales staff to keep them. I think we all know the customer profitability rate increases over the life of a retained customer. Make sure you are rewarding your team for keeping customers month after month or year after year."
Use Self-Evaluation to Offer Cash Incentives
"Several years ago I was given excellent advice from a former SVP at Verizon about managing employee performance. The key to setting employee performance goals is to set guidelines from the start with the employee. It's important that the employee not only participates in the process, but also adopts the guidelines as his or her own. Cash incentives should be given based on employee self-evaluations."
Use Peer Evaluations
"As the owner of a delivery-based business, most of my employees' time on the clock is spent away from their supervisors, which makes measuring job performance tricky. But since they always work in randomized pairs, we ask employees to fill out a short survey at the end of each shift to rate the person they worked with that day on customer service, problem solving, professionalism, teamwork, etc."
Add Cash Incentives to a "Good News Jar"
"When a client writes or calls to tell the leadership how well an employee did, we add their praises to our "good news jar." The good news jar is literally a jar with papers of quotes from clients. We are organized in teams of 2-3 employees (we call them pods) and the team with the most "kudos" in a three-month period gets a cash incentive."