When growing up, were you ever rewarded for good grades, meeting a deadline or winning the big game? This was probably your first experience with incentives. In the work place, incentives can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be used to both reward good behavior and to help push employees themselves further. But what happens when incentives do the opposite of what you want? Below are some ways that the use of incentives can backfire.
- Workers may feel pressured to do work they cannot do. This is especially true in sales positions. When your hearing aid dispensers spend their day trying to make sales, it typically has more to do with patients’ perceptions over their own performance. This can lead to your sales staff becoming pushy and aggressive, which can further alienate patients and actually decrease number of sales.
- Workers may feel pressured to do set aside their personal values. This is especially true when it comes to quality of care. While doctors can see more patients, quality of care may diminish as patients become numbers rather than people, and visits are rushed to get the next person seen. In turn, doctors may feel that they are not serving patients to the best of their abilities.
- Some incentives aren’t necessarily healthy. Addictive rewards, such as alcohol or sweets, are often used to incentivize employees. However, those suffering or recovering from addiction may have trouble when it comes to these rewards – either by underperforming to stay away from them or earning the reward then partaking in unhealthy habits.
- Some incentives are used to address a problem committed by a small number of workers. If you are seeing certain areas of the office where people are underperforming or taking advantage of certain policies, address the issues directly rather than implementing a passive-aggressive reward system.
Has your office successfully implemented incentives? Share in the comments below.