Non-Financial Incentives?

A very lively discussion was kicked off by our MD on Twitter and LinkedIn last week after asking once very simple question; “What’s best non-financial way of incentivising sales staff? Extra holiday, Lunch out or just occasional ‰’well done’?

This started a very lively debate about what benefits and bonuses staff were entitled to or should be offered. For many some of the incentives where an absolute given or even deemed a right which everyone should have without even asking for it. Having someone in charge such as a line manager or supervisor just thanking you for your hard work was something that many thought shouldn’t be viewed as an incentive. They made the argument that it was just being polite and respectful of their colleagues / staff and should be something people had to fight to receive. However for others a thank you is something that is rarely received so all that more special when it occurs.

When you are in a targeted driven environment everyone’s main focus is on the commission percentage they will earn on the money they bring in – and rightly so as this can result in a not so small sum being paid out. But what about those who don’t have revenue target on their head? Are they even entitled to try and earn bonuses or should they just get a higher basic? But why does that bonus need to be financial? If you are earning, for example, £25,000 per year that works out at around £95 a day so if you were given the chance to earn £150 as a little incentives bonus would you rather get two days holiday? Yes you can’t go and spend those extra days on items in a shop but the company is actually giving you a bigger financial reward then the cash option.

Meals out with the management team can be a good reward – provided it’s more than a Quarter Pounder from the nearest well-known fast food chain and it can prove to be a fantastic way of improving a bond with your colleagues. For management who might not see you that much it can be a great way for them to get to know you better as well.

Being given the flexibility in your working hours and location is one of the most sorts after benefits that many people seek. A recent poll that was seen by Robertson Sumner listed 87% of people questioned wanting the option to work from home! So why not reward people by letting that happen? If they are successful already they will want to continue to do so especially if they are on a monetary commission scheme. So for the cost of letting them work from home – you could even save a few pence on the monthly bills for tea and coffee! – You are recognising and rewarding handwork, incentivising others to secure this ‰’perk’ and it hasn’t cost the business extra money! It is possible to take this a step further and like people can increase the amount of holiday they get each year you could set it up so people earn an increase in the number of days they are allowed to work remotely.

So after all is said and done what is the best non-financial way of incentivising staff not just your sales team? Or how would you like to be rewarded by your current employer?

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