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8 Ways to Inspire Employee Behavior That You Can Implement Today

By: Bill Hogg



Leaders create the vision, set company goals, and develop strategies—but it is front line employees who execute the plan. They are the ones who carry out the daily tasks and initiatives that help make a leader’s vision become a reality. They are the ones who interact daily with the customers who are the life blood of any successful organization.

Poor employee behavior and performance will severely limit an organization’s ability to grow, and will have a negative impact on your organizational culture. One rotten employee can spoil a whole team or department. This is why incentive programs have become a popular tool. They provide a set of goals and performance standards for employees to strive for, and reward them accordingly.
Reward Based Incentives
One of the most popular and widely used ways to encourage desirable employee behavior and get results is by offering some form of monetary or financial reward. Some of the most common types of rewards include:
  • Money
  • Performance bonuses
  • Raises and pay increases
  • Company swag
  • Extra vacation time
While on the surface rewards may seem like an effective way to incent employee behavior, they often do not produce the intended effect. Rewards based incentives yield short term gains and are transactional in nature. Your employees perform a desired action and you reward them for it.
But when a reward is not offered, it often creates a negative response by employees. Reward based incentives often create a sense of entitlement, and if a reward is not offered, you will have a tough time getting your employees to perform to their full potential.
Most importantly, financial rewards don’t touch the emotional aspect of engagement. To truly inspire engaged employees, we must touch them emotionally so they consider the value of their contributions to the organization—not just to their pocketbook.
8 Incentives That Work
To inspire your employees and create a high quality organizational culture, you need to offer incentives that are transformational in nature, touch your employees emotionally, and focus on long term behavioral change.
Here are 8 effective ways to inspire employee behavior that you can implement today:

1. Build Pride in the Organization: Ensure your employees see tangible reasons to have pride in their work and their organization, so they know the job they do matters to the organization and to the communities you serve. Share your vision for the organization so everyone understands how the organization contributes—both through business and external activities. What is your purpose versus your tasks? How does your organization contribute to the community? Is it through community events or charity work? How can employees get involved and support their community through the organization?
2. Provide Recognition: Recognize a job well done. A simple thank you can go a long way. Every employee, no matter what position they hold, loves to be recognized for their efforts. Thank employees for doing things outside their job description, for working an extra shift, or for picking up the slack during busy time. Do you have a performance based program that gives employees company wide recognition based on activities and behaviors that align with your core values? People like to be appreciated!
3. Keep your Employees Stimulated: Give your good performers the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities and offer challenging assignments regularly. This can be as simple as assigning a special project or offering extra responsibilities that recognize their efforts.
4. Provide Opportunities for Personal Growth: Employees want to move up from their current position. So give them the chance by offering growth opportunities for employees that put in the effort and are great performers. Consider offering a leadership or management program. A lack of opportunities to grow is an emotional letdown for most people.
5. Promote Clarity: Clearly lay out expectations, roles, and responsibilities. It is emotionally taxing when employees are constantly faced with uncertain circumstances and unclear direction. Being clear and consistent when communicating expectations and evaluating performance will create an environment where employees feel confident when they are doing a good job.
6. Create a Positive Work Environment: Establish a clear, well-defined vision of what your ideal work environment should feel like—and then take the necessary steps to work towards that environment. How will people interact with each other? Will there be flexibility in work schedule? What behaviors are unacceptable and will not be tolerated? Work toward a positive work environment that your employees will embrace. A negative work environment is emotionally taxing and will impact employee performance directly.
7. Relationship with Manager: Great managers take the time to build positive relationships with their employees. When emotional connections are built between employees, their managers, and their role in the company, employees will perform at a higher level.
8. Give Your Employees a Voice: Offer employees the opportunity to provide feedback on their position or department. Let them sit in on a manager meeting or treat them to a lunch with a company leader where they can offer their insights and ideas. Not having a voice can be very frustrating.

Employee incentives that are transformational in nature have a long term impact and are more effective than simple rewards based incentives that must be repeated time and time again to get consistent results.
Published: May 9, 2013

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Bill Hogg

Bill works with senior leaders to stimulate change – that excelerates passion, productivity and profits! For over 30 years, Bill has been the go to guy when the world’s most recognized brands are faced with challenges that require change -- to improve bottom line results. Bill takes no prisoners, and his clients love him for it! For additional articles and information on how to transform your organization visit us online at www.billhogg.ca

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