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"Discovery" truly is a less problematic term than my favorite ("diagnosis"). The former sounds like simple preliminary information-gathering rather than investigating the true cause of the dissonance that prompted the request for an incentive system. Running a systematic diagnosis before making a prescription (logical but thus rare in management practice) is a potential challenge to the pre-announced desired solution decreed by the client. (Cough, cough.) Those of us who are attorneys, BCFEs and testifying experts are quite familiar with the discovery process applied in court cases. It sounds less confrontational than openly questioning the conclusion reached by some high executive Who Must Be Obeyed.

I always did a Compensation Audit first. Others might find guidance by searching under "Mager & Pipe Performance Model" for the superb classic summary. Most frequently, the issue to be resolved through the proposed incentives was not a reinforcement problem and superior alternative solutions were available. But, as covered in the old "First You Eliminate Pay as the Solution" article in August of 2010 here in the Cafe, managers are conditioned to throw money at every issue; it generally requires some careful maneuvering to help them discover that they really want you to do something different from their hasty initial first thought. As long as they believe the true best solution was their idea, everything will be fine.

Incentives are vehicles which, at best, stimulate action. Whether they are appropriate or whether the resulting action is desired are different things altogether.

Hi Ann - great post and thanks for collaborating with us on such a fantastic webcast. I think the archive is up on HR.com now for any of your readers who missed it!http://www.hr.com/en/webcasts_events/webcasts/archived_webcasts_and_podcasts/will-incentives-perform-for-you_gtrna82l.html



(I see Typepad ate my first response here.) Think you're right - discovery is probably a less threatening term than diagnosis, particularly to the manager who believes they already know what they want.

And yes, if the evidence against incentives as the (or at least the "sole") solution is compelling enough, hopefully your role becomes one of helping them "discover" that along with you.


It was great to have the chance to collaborate with you - and thanks for sharing the archive link here.

The following blog was posted on the Brownie Points web site recently. I think it endorses much of what you said.......

Staff reward and recognition programs should deliver a clearly measurable result to your bottom line while inspiring, motivating and engaging your staff. Increasing staff loyalty, reducing staff turnover, improving customer service or increasing sales can lead to major improvements in your business, and your staff should share in those rewards.

Employee reward programs don’t have to be expensive, they just need to deliver an effective way to re-engage your staff, improve morale or maximise productivity. The improvement to your business should more than cover the financial cost of any well planned and implemented reward and recognition program.

In order to maximise the improvement to your business, behaviours that can be identified and measured should be built into the program. This will deliver key information to allow management to monitor and refine the program.

"69% cent of workers surveyed say that non-monetary forms of recognition provide the best motivation." The Gallup Organisation

Importantly, when deciding on the rewards that you plan to offer your staff, remember that different generations are excited by different things, so find out what will best motivate them. A unique “experience” will leave a longer lasting impression with the recipient than cash, which may just pay some bills. In addition, a truly inspiring experience will be talked about with colleagues, friends and relatives, driving the desire to attain further rewards. With a well implemented recognition program the cost of the rewards should be a fraction of the perceived value to the recipient.

Brownie Points has been designed to take the complexity out of reward and recognition. With fast implementation and personalisation, Brownie Points programs are intuitive and exciting to use, while delivering a significant return on investment.

To learn more, call the Brownie Points team today on +61 (0)3 9909 7411 or email us at [email protected]

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