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Perfect time to retire your ineffective programs

By April 22, 2020 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

With the Covid 19 virus forcing a significant change in working practices, with many people working from home (which may be much more the norm going forward), this is the perfect time for a bit of internal housekeeping.

Recognising remote or home based employees requires a rethink, so why not take time to look at your existing recognition programs and bring them up to date?

No staff motivation program or incentive plan works forever; but they sometimes seem to last forever, lingering on long past the day when their effectiveness expired.  So what can you do about it?

Any experienced manager who has run a recognition program will know it is extremely difficult to disengage from any system that is seen as an important part of the total reward “contract” with employees.  Simple expectation theory teaches us that once people receive a consequence perceived as valuable, they want it to continue.

Examination of overall remuneration programs usually reveals multiple overlapping redundant layers of reward programs and incentives that have been added over the years.  A house painter will strip off the old paint so as to most effectively lay a new coat on a freshly cleaned and newly prepared surface.  Recognition programs should similarly stripped down to a clean basic core foundation before adding anything new.

Old reward programs can take on a life of their own.  Once in an annual budget, they are relatively easily renewed.  They can become taken for granted, both by management and by the employees, readily accepted as a fixed cost.

Naturally, they will not be universally useful.  What works very well in one situation may be completely ineffective in a different environment.

Here are four suggestions on how to withdraw from a reward program in order to replace them with something more appropriate:

  • Fold old systems into new programs – you could roll over any residual values from the old program if you need to.
  • Start again by cancelling all current incentives at a certain date, then launch a totally new replacement program – you might wish to allow participants to ‘cash in’ their credits.
  • Incorporate expiry dates into existing plans so that you do not need to implement the ideas above in future.
  • Make the addition of any new program conditional on others reaching their drop-dead dates.

By keeping reward programs fresh, up to date and appropriate you will deliver the best results from staff engagement programs.

If you would like to discuss how to effectively update your program to motivate and engage your staff in the new world  call the Brownie Points team on 03 9909 7411 or email us at

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