Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do Incentive Meetings Really Motivate?

If you were looking for a go-to guy on motivation, you could hardly do better than Dan Pink, author of the bestselling Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

So we went to Pink, and asked him how effective incentive events are when it comes to boosting employee motivation. Here is his reply:
If the only reason, or the main reason, somebody is selling a product or service is to get a trip, then I think the incentive distorts motivation and might even hurt the company in the long run. (I also think it shows they’ve hired the wrong person.) 
What’s more, giving some people a trip can demoralize those who don’t get a trip — and make the recipients fearful of losing the trip the following year.

That said, trips per se are absolutely fine. If they’re part of teambuilding or strategizing, that’s terrific and valuable and worthwhile. That’s true, as well, if they’re offered in a noncontingent, unexpected way as an after-the-fact form of recognition.

In other words, the problem isn’t trips or meetings. They’re great. The problem is using them — or using anything — to control others’ behavior.

1 comment:

Bizznizzman said...

Pink is dead on - using trips as a reward may work temporarily in the short run, but will end up hurting the company once only one person wins it, and nobody will want to work hard after investing effort in an attempt to win.
-Kyle @ Incentive meetings