Reward the Behavior You Wish to be Repeated

Have you ever been out for dinner and been subject to an unruly child seated in the same vicinity as you? How about a grocery store where a child is throwing a fit? Even 3 isles away the blood curling screams have the ability to pierce your ear drums so deep that you actually get chills up your spine. I always ask myself, “How on earth can the parents allow this to be happening?” In most cases when I investigate further, the parent is just as horrified as everyone else and they are doing everything in their power to satisfy whatever need that child has at that given moment in order to change his/her behavior. Anything from crayons to candy, eventually something catches the child’s interest enough and they stop their outburst, even if it is only momentarily.

What’s going on here? The parent is attempting to change the child’s behavior by offering some sort of reward. The point here is that no matter how you would personally deal with these situations there is a common factor. In both cases the parent is creating an environment to alter the child’s behavior.

Let’s fast forward a little bit. Have you ever created a list of chores for your child and then given them some sort of reward once they completed the tasks? What about a reward system if your child maintained or achieved a certain grade point average?

Now fast forward to adulthood. Ever paid or received an incentive for a job well done, hitting a predetermined quota, or meeting a set deadline or standard? In most companies there is always some sort of “spiff” program already in place designed to reward behavior we wish to have repeated.

In this article I would like to offer some new ideas on reward programs used in the past, with very good results. Your best employees are typically somewhat competitive and want to finish near the top of every list of competition. They are like professional athletes….those that train the hardest are normally your best performers.

In previous Performance News articles we have reviewed a number of areas that you could be measuring in your business to predict or even grade your company’s performance. Now, allow me to share, some outlines to reward programs that can be more powerful than a ten dollar spiff.

Darts for Dough (My personal favorite)

This program is simple and requires a dart board hung in the office somewhere at regulation height, a throwing line on the floor and 6-9 darts ready to throw. I personally have always used steel tip darts rather than the plastic, soft tip darts and suggest you do the same.

Identify monthly performance indicators in 2 or 3 areas that you want to measure.

Customer surveys that mention employee by name. The goal is 1 or 2 review per week, so 4 or 8 reviews each month. Employees who achieve this goal earn two darts to throw at the end of the month.

Call Backs or Warranty. The goal is to have no callbacks on our employees, so whichever employee achieves this goal for the month earns two darts to throw.

Maintenance Agreement Sales. The goal is 1 sale per day, 5 per week or 20 per month. For each employee that hits the goal they would earn two darts to throw.

Home Performance Tests. The goal maybe 1 test for every 10 service calls (10% conversion rate) or whatever number makes sense for your company. A technician runs 4 calls a day for the month, that would be 80 opportunities. If he or she turned in 8 or more tests, they would have earned two darts to throw.

So in this example each service tech has the ability to earn 8 darts. If they fall short of any of these goals darts are lost. If a technician only received 3 reviews that mentioned them by name one month, maybe they lose one of the two darts, versus another technician who received no reviews, they would obviously lose both darts in this area.

Remember to have measuring sticks for CSR/Dispatchers and Installers as well; they will actually respond the best to this program.

At your next departmental or company monthly meeting you will share the results of all the dart earners with everyone in the department and/or company. Each employee who has earned darts will walk up to the front of the room and throw their darts in front of the department and/or company (the more people in the meeting the better here). Encourage the other employees to cheer them on and get everyone excited!

When the employee has thrown all his/her darts add up the total number of points and write down that number. This is the amount of money you will pay that employee, in cash, on the spot!! Not added to their next paycheck, not a check drawn from QuickBooks, Straight up cash in front of everyone in the room! You will immediately have everyone’s attention!

If an employee has gone way above and beyond, give them a bonus dart and share the story with everyone in the room. Reward the behavior you wish to have repeated!

You will need to get each employee to sign a paper showing how much money they have received so that the proper taxes can be paid the following pay period from their check.

If you implement this program as I have described it here, you are guaranteed positive results and a higher level of motivation within your departments. The only people who will not like it are the people who are not earning any darts and that is okay…

Don’t Lose Your Marbles

Another program that can work well also starts the same way. Identify areas that you wish to improve your results in and then simply assign a “marble” value for each. Example: For each on-line survey you receive that mentions you by name, you will earn 1 marble (each employee has to have a different color marble).

As each employee earns marbles throughout the month, publicly (weekly is good) add those marbles into the glass bowl. At the end of the month a marble will be pulled from the bowl and the winner will receive something of value to him/her. A gift card for him/her and their spouse to a very nice restaurant and movie passes ($200.00 plus in value), make sure the prize is of great value to the winner. The key here is in how the prize is presented and to whom.

If the winning employee is married then you are going to want to drive over to their house in the evening or possibly weekend to present the award directly to the spouse and thank them for their support and explain the program to them so they understand what their significant other has done to earn this special recognition. Then give them the option of awards.

The reason for this extra attention and effort is priceless! Who do you think will be monitoring how many marbles your employees have in the glass bowl each month….their spouses!! “Honey, how many marbles do you have in the jar this month?”, “How many does everyone else have?”, “You better step it up!”

Keep all the marbles in the bowl each month so that at the end of the year you can have a Grand Prize Drawing. The employees with the most marbles have the highest chances of winning. The grand prize could be a weekend getaway for two, a hunting trip, a cruise, something that will motivate your employees to earn as many marbles as they possibly can each and every month.

Have a poster board hung above the jar that shows everyone at your company how many marbles are in the jar from each employee and what their odds of winning are. Keep this up to date each week.

These programs work, they are fun and they motivate positive behavior that is good for you and your business!

Try them, I would love to hear your feedback!

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