Ideas on Incentives Part 2

June 20, 2005

Motivating Your Workforce Toward High Performance

By: Greg Smith

One of the easiest and most effective programs to initiate is peer recognition. Peer recognition gives employees the power to reward each other for doing a good job.

It works because employees themselves know who works hard and deserves recognition. After all, managers can’t be everywhere all the time, and employees are in the best position to catch people doing the right things.

  • You’re Magnificent!
    At the MAG Insurance Company, they use a form of recognition called “You’re Magnificent!” The form is printed in triplicate and given to all employees to nominate each other for outstanding behavior. The top copy goes to the recognized employee. The second copy goes to the employee’s supervisor. The third copy is posted for everyone to see on a bulletin board.

    Once a month they take the posted copies and randomly draw the names of five individuals called, “You’re Magnificents” for $10 gift certificates. Then three additional “Magnificents” are drawn each quarter for a $250 gift certificate.

  • Safety Bingo
    For every accident free day at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, associates are awarded a bingo number. Each associate has a card and plays the game. A pot grows at the rate of $1 per day with a starting amount of $100. The associate who wins at safety bingo is awarded the cash in the pot.

    If they go over 100 days without an accident, it increases by $2 per day. If they have an accident, the pot falls back down to $100 and it starts over again. If someone wins, the pot remains at same pay out level, and continues to grow $1 or $2 per day. This program reduced accidents by 50% each year.

  • Thank You Coupons
    In this program, the Texas Credit Union gives each employee seven coupons a year to give to any employees they wish to recognize for going out of their way to help customers or fellow employees.

    The coupons are redeemed for $10 certificates for food, movies, golf, and the like. Everyone in the company, from the president and vice presidents down, is eligible for a coupon.

A work environment that attracts, keeps, and motivates its workforce is one that gives workers a sense of pride, accomplishment, and purpose in what they do.

These informal programs provide an effective strategy for motivating employees and they are simple to administer. They do not cost much, do not take much time, and do not complicate the payroll. Instead of providing cash incentives, you can substitute by providing winners with extra breaks, movie tickets, time off, t-shirts, and other small gifts.

Gregory P. Smith shows businesses how to build productive and profitable work environments that attract, keep, and motivate their workforce. He is the author of the book, Here Today Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High Turnover to High-Retention. He speaks at conferences, conducts management training, and is the President of a management consulting firm called Chart Your Course International located in Conyers, Georgia. Phone him at 770-860-9464. More articles available:

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