Regrettably, it’s true. At least probably for the way you have them set up today. Formidably, help’s on the way. (And it’s not your fault, anyway.)
But let’s back up for a second and dig a little into the what, how, and why of the matter.
Reward systems are a time-honoured tradition mankind has been curating for many years. And they do make sense – but only when applied specifically to a set of mechanical, simple tasks.
Throw anything requiring actual creativity in the way, and the whole notion turns out counter-productive rather quickly. In fact, for such conceptually-minded efforts the higher the reward, the lower the performance.
Counter-intuitive? Only at first sight. The truth is simple: carrot and stick methods narrow mind and focus, in turn obscuring creativity.
Something that social sciences have actually been noting for decades. However, amongst the various researchers of the topic, one of the most strikingly useful analyses in a business context comes from author Daniel Pink.
This ties right in with the results a traditional style of management (and a standard rewards system) produces: compliance. Whereas more self-directed ways of working yield engagement for the greater purpose.
What ingredients do you need for that and how do you enable them?
Pink further concludes that this self-direction requires what he calls a new operating system consisting of three pillars:
Autonomy – describing the urge to direct our own lives
Mastery – encapsulating the desire to get better at something that matters
Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves
Essentially: creating a space where people go do things because they matter.
But it’s no be-all end-all: any such system wanting to master this needs to build upon both these extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors. Then it needs to use them in conjunction:
Both those sets of drivers codify our needs and desires in different ways. Finally, they find their ideal symbiosis in the three previously described values: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose.
In order to fully enable them, our success system needs to make the flow of things feel natural and engaging by leveraging the concept of gamification. In other words: incentivise your people to execute process, track their time, report their project statuses – anything iterative really – in a way that engages their creative mind instantly.
With Yera we have created a purpose-built SaaS just for that:
Autonomy – A constant sense of progress institutes the desired Challenge & Autonomy mindset with a flexible choice of rewards. As international research has found, this variety even increases creativity.
Mastery – The PerkStore allows to convert the rewards into learning content or other experiences. With that, it speaks strongly to the personal, intrinsic motivation of people and allows them to pursue exactly the mastery they’re passionate about.
Purpose – Alternatively, causes or charities that are near and dear to your staff’s heart are ready to receive the rewards as well. This connects your staff with a greater good they can support.
Do things because they matter. We’ll help you.
Find out more here.