WHY THE CLIENT NEEDED THE RESEARCH?
Our client had an Incentive program for employee’s referral and cross-selling of other company’s services and products. The system was “robust” (aka super complex). It was based on a point system where employees would sometimes accumulate point to redeem or cash out, and other times employees would enter a raffle. Lateral Strategy was hired to “simplify” the system and understand what would make employees become more engaged with the program.
WHAT WAS DONE?
We set out to interview high achievers, average and people who had disengaged from the program. We identified considerable differences in how each segment perceived and engaged with the program. Most notably, people’s awareness of their sales performance was far-fetched: average users thought they were high achievers, disengaged people felt “entitled” to incentives and high achievers were missing out on opportunities.
It turned out that low performers felt their effort entitled them to better incentives and high achievers had cracked the code to the high paying rewards and focused on consistently delivering on those (they had become somehow “specialized”). We also discovered that the lack of understanding on how the program’s incentives worked was killing its chances of success.
We decided to focus on giving employees a clearer understanding of the program’s potential income. A Program Report was designed to provide participants with comparisons with that of their co-workers. The report also suggested actions that employees could take to increase their earnings and showed them the results of those actions over time. The report did not give any negative feedback but gave tools to improve if their earnings were lower than those of their peers.
When participants learned they were making less incentives than their coworkers, they became motivated to increase their involvement with the program. High achievers organically started “training the trainers” and they were incentivized further through a customized development program.