Rewards are inherent to human nature. They are governed by the intrinsic need of “What’s In It For Me” or WIIFM as commonly known. Every individual will assess the work to reward ratio at an intellectual and emotional level before putting in heart and soul in any activity. It is unfortunate that people design reward strategies mostly around financial terms. There is a lot more opportunity beyond the financial rewards. Before we move into the depth of this, let’s first understand the diverse drives that exist in each human being.
All of us are an outcome of our beliefs and values. Values are more fundamental than beliefs in the case of rewards. Rewards must cater to differing values, and values are factors that are most important to any individual. Each individual based on the exposure and experience has a hierarchy of values. Organizations must devise reward strategies that gratify this.
Mostly my study says values are an amalgamation of personal and professional factors. Professional factors can be career growth, money, learning, visibility, and status to name a few. Personal factors can be family, relationships, health, spiritual needs, and travel, etc. Thus, looking at these aspects, we must craft a reward system that meets professional and aspiration factors.
Being a part of the talent process can be a great reward for achievers. They get visibility as well as assurance of growth. A skill based pay structure or a pay formula based on contribution to the organization also goes a long way. Equity in the organization placates to the need of money, and appreciation concomitant with equity definitely keeps the adrenalin owing for folks for whom money is a great motivator.
However, the avenues of enhancing skills and competencies can form a part of the reward system. Educational tie-ups with respectable brands and universities unquestionably help in the case of individuals for whom learning is a great value. After all, education is expensive and time-consuming but can undeniably help an organization shape its own internal proficiency also.
Incentives associated with overall organization’s performance are good but not too exhilarating. A performer would always be riveted in a share directly associated with once own project. Sales guys are surely stimulated by direct incentives with no riders built into it. Overall my opinion is that a flexible variable pay surely helps. A personalized touch helps in the cases where family and relationships are of paramount significance. Sponsoring education of children, special travel schemes, health benefits, etc. do go a long way. A personal touch is much more potent than only financial or extrinsic benefits.
My suggestion is, study the value system of the organization and its individuals. Prioritize rewards based on values and customize them for individuals and organizations. There are a lot more subtle rewards like appreciation and catering to basic needs which can help colossally. There is no magic wand but surely rewards based on human psychology will help a lot. There is no point focussing on money alone, it is too transitory. A reward should be something that is dear to heart but not invested in for self. It must be special.