Get Employees Back on Track

A recent article by Forbes asks an intriguing question about what motivates employees more – incentives vs. recognition. You can read the entire article for elaboration on each question (below) that companies should ask themselves:

It takes two to tango. These days, however, many chief executive officers worry they may be dancing alone with their employees standing idle on the sidelines. The recession has pummeled employee engagement, and poor employee morale has left CEOs feeling out of step with their workforce. What can you do to get your workers moving again? How do you capture their hearts and give them back the drive to do their very best?

Two tools are often prescribed to CEOs by their human resources experts: incentive programs and recognition programs. Incentive programs are contests usually limited to a specific group within a company, such as sales, in which employees compete to win some prize. By contrast, recognition programs acknowledge and reinforce the accomplishments of the majority of employees. They are more about long-term goals and values.

When and how these two approaches are best used can get confusing. As a CEO who has dealt with incentives and recognition for more than a decade, I offer five questions for you to ask to help you determine which may work best for you.

  1. Is your company morale in a state of emergency?
  2. Do you know what really motivates your employees?
  3. Do you just need to hit a quarterly target or deadline?
  4. Are you trying to motivate your entire workforce or just your star performers?
  5. Are you and your team committed to making employee engagement both an art and a science?