Why Link Rewards to Job Performance
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
A key element in producing specific results is rewarding those who do the work! When rewards and respect are based on performance and it’s clear to everyone that the act of getting it done is the goal, you begin to create a culture of execution.
I see a trend with my clients that, at first glance is a notable and endearing quality: They are nice. “Nice” in a way that promotes affiliation and kindness, as a means to an end. But I have learned that being “nice” also can be very useless as a stand-alone quality in leadership. Some of my clients are also “nice” in a way that holds them back: Giving their people so many opportunities to not do the job they were hired to do.
How can your team make more money?
Since when did showing up for work entitle everyone to rewards? For goodness sake. Showing up for work doesn’t entitle anyone to anything but compensation for doing exactly what they’ve been hired to do! And if they want to make more money they need to do more! Please shake your head and tell me you are with me on this one.
It’s what sets the high performers apart from the rest. There are some team members who need to maintain our business – keep it running smoothly and make sure our valued customers don’t leave us. But for those employees who want to earn more, who are motivated by rewards (which are packaged in many forms), they want an opportunity to do more! They want to perform and be rewarded for their efforts.
By linking rewards to team members’ performance, you do three vital things:
- You create a greater sense of responsibility and more ownership of the job to the employee.
- You stimulate the employee to work harder than he or she might otherwise do.
- You give the employee some control over his or her income.
Let’s look at each of these vital points:
1- Creating Responsibility
Having ownership in your work is a sure way to increase “buy in” and responsibility. It’s like have some “skin in the game” – something to lose when you don’t get it right.
One of the biggest mistakes I see leaders make is thinking they have to do it all themselves. If you are privileged to lead a team, give yourself permission to let your team help you get where you need to go!
I facilitate a lot of planning retreats for teams. One of the most important activities I do in designing a planning meeting for a team is gaining clarity on where the team is having success and where the team is stuck – from everyone’s point of view (not just the boss).
The feedback I get during a team assessment helps to define the work that needs to be done. And when each participant shows up around my table, we begin with blank sheets of paper that allow for everyone to participate in the problem-solving process.
Nothing is more empowering for a team member than helping to craft his or her own roles and responsibilities. When an individual is allowed to take ownership over driving results, affecting change, and helping to co-create the action steps needed to get the job done, he will resist the temptation to compromise on his commitments.
Additionally, our team members will come up with ideas and solutions we might never think of individually! Collaborating on action plans and allowing everyone to step-up and contribute will spike buy-in and action more than any amount of money or other incentive I have seen. We all have a voice. And we each want our voice to be heard. Let your team members own their work and proclaim what is theirs to achieve. It will make your work as the leader easier and it will be more gratifying for everyone.
This is a 3-part series on Rewarding Job Performance. In my next two articles we will continue talking about the other 2 vital things you achieve when you link rewards to team members’ performance.
I can help you develop accountability practices in your organization.
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