All staff need to be incentivised to perform. Whether the incentive is self-driven or provided by their Manager, there needs to be incentives to enable high performance.
I like to group incentives into the following categories:
- Purpose – self-driven belief in the “why” someone is doing something and the impacts the task will have
- Financial – monetary rewards provided upon the achievement of defined tasks, goals or milestones
- Recognition – demonstrated appreciation for the staff member based on completion of activities or behaviours demonstrated
In the Digital World, often the focus is on purely financial incentives. This can be the shallowest of the three types of incentives. Whilst financial rewards are a great motivator, I find that people are truly seeking something a little more tangible and rewarding that a simple cash bonus. That doesn’t mean I don’t give cash bonuses – I do, it means that they are only one component of how I incentivise my teams.
I prefer to take a balanced approach to incentivising the VE People team. Incentives are built on a hierarchy basis as demonstrated below.
The most important is Purpose.
I do my very best to ensure that everyone who is working for VE People understands why we exist and why we do the work that we do. The reality is that we are not seeking to be the richest or the biggest. We seek to be a sustainable operation that offers exceptionally high quality client services. Once our revenue needs are met, our goal is to make our surrounding communities stronger, more resilient and sustainable. We actively contribute to our local communities through provision of our time, funding and ideas.
This creates a purpose for our team that has built a strong, family-like internal culture and a commitment to more than just profits. In essence, we are about something more than just money.
To support our purpose, it is important that we regularly practice recognition with each other. We proactively do the little things often, things like saying “Thank you”, celebrating achievements or even just passing on a good news story. I love to see the flurry of emails that come through when I send out a note thanking someone for performing their role. As an extension to this, we make a big deal out of the bigger wins and where people have stretched or achieved something outstanding.With a little help from Time Doctor you can recognize people, whether they are simply doing their job or going the extra mile and doing something outstanding helps contribute to our purpose.
The support recognising staff, we do provide financial incentives. These are important as the do provide a boost for our staff. But in isolation, financial rewards only lose their impact.
Personally, I take a hands on approach in terms of incentivising the people that work for me. A genuine interest (and I mean a GENUINE interest) in how they are going, both professionally and personally helps me build a connection with the people who work for me. I get to understand what they need, how they like to work and what motivates them. I think that generosity and good will goes both ways and I find that if my incentives are generous and good will is extended, then it is usually returned.
With my team, our purpose is clear. It motivates us. We recognise each other. Our financial incentives can vary in terms of how they are constructed, we have given cash payments all the way through to donations to schools. It all depends on what is most important to our virtual team
The most important thing to remember is that without all three categories of incentives detailed above, your reward and recognition processes will eventually break down. A balanced and considered approach with genuine consideration and care for your virtual staff will take you a long way to building a high performing virtual team.