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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

Achievement-Based Bonus Programs That Don’t Stink – Part 2

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Achievement-based bonus programs that work.

Win, win, win

Once you’ve decided that embarking on an achievement-based bonus program will be beneficial for your team members as well as your construction business your next move will be determining which bonus initiatives will be most advantageous.

Typically, the considerations fall into two major categories – efficiency and profits. Or, reduced to its base level, time and money. Yet, there are a couple more categories which may help bring this matter into better focus. Retention and satisfaction. Retention of your best employees and the satisfaction level of your clients.

A well-executed achievement-based bonus program will be a win for your clients, a win for your team, and a win for your construction business. Yep, win, win, win.

Set the bar high for employee achievement

You’ve been told in the past to look for your clients’ pain points and determine a way to meet their needs. Good advice. Yet, have you considered your employees may also have pain points which need to be addressed? There will always be the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) issue to consider. When devising your plan, be sure your employees will be rewarded well for their achievements. The goals you set for them should be easy to understand. They should know both what they’re expected to do and what they stand to gain if they do it.

And, while you’re setting the bar high, don’t set it so high no one could ever hope to jump “clear up there.” Plus (and this is the part that will ease your team’s minds) whenever possible, have graded levels of achievement. “If you reach this milestone, the reward you’ll receive is this.” And, “If you meet this even harder milestone, this reward will be on the table.” Plus, “This really tough to reach target will net you this reward.”

By the way, the rewards don’t necessarily have to be higher and higher amounts of money. But, more on that later.

Give the client more than they asked for

“I would like for this project to last longer than we agreed on and cost significantly more than expected”, said no client ever. Which translates into being done on time and not exceeding the budget is the bare minimum for meeting client expectations. But, what more could they ask?

Listening to your clients translates into detail or specialty applications and may mean improved functionality. Having a pulse on your clients, means you will likely learn of ways your team can perform better to improve the clients’ delight levels. Incorporate what you learn into your achievement-based bonus program.

Bottom line, communication with your clients can, and should be, what pushes your achievement-based bonus process.

How to implement a bonus program

At the highest level of implementation are two considerations:

  1. Motivating your employees to excel beyond their base job descriptions and regular duties.

  2. Exceeding your client’s expectations in both small and big ways.

Thinking of the above two considerations, use the 6 Ds to design your program.

  1. Determine the objectives

  1. Decide who will be eligible to participate (consider team or individual based)

  1. Develop the achievement criteria

  1. Devise the reward levels

  1. Derive the funding formula (Where’s the money coming from to pay for this?)

  1. Decree the method of payment

*There will be an example of using this method in part 3 of this 3-part series.

You’re not made of cash

You’re a nice person. You’re also a good business owner. You would like to give lots of great stuff to your well-performing employees. There is only so much money in your coffers. You have a dilemma. Or do you?

You may think the only thing your employees want or will respond to is cold hard cash. Yet studies show that isn’t always the case.  The author of an article found at Incentive Concepts states, “The best rewards experience, then, isn’t a matter of presenting the best rewards, but the best mix of reward, recognition, and experience.” It is an enlightening article based on studies conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA).

Which incentives to give

Following is a brief list of possible reward options you can consider.

  1. gym membership

  2. golf trip

  3. training or educational opportunities

  4. company-paid family activity events

  5. tickets for sporting events

  6. additional vacation days

  7. paid group meals

  8. company branded mugs, hats, shirts, or jackets

  9. chair massages

  10. job site lunch delivery

  11. tools

  12. a magazine or audio subscription

  13. car wash and detail coupon

  14. ice cream socials

  15. theater gift cards

  16. concert tickets

  17. entrance fees for industry related conferences

  18. house-cleaning or maid service at their home

  19. museum, zoo, or botanical garden memberships

  20. gift cards

You’re likely to think of many other options, especially when you pay attention to what your team members are into. What are they talking about before and after meetings, while on the job site, or during lunch. What are they interested in? Where do they spend their time when not working? What are the ages of their children?

Bargains, discounts, and low-cost gifts

Be on the lookout for bargains and discounts on the items you’ll be presenting to your employees. The obvious option is buying while items are on sale. You can also ask for a discount when purchasing in bulk – even if the “bulk” is only a few dozen on some items. Discounted gift cards are a good option.  Another source for bargain priced gift cards is found here.

You can also consider gift cards in small denominations. Five or ten-dollar cards to local fast-food restaurants and coffee houses, plus slightly higher denominations for familiar department stores.

Get the crew talking – in a good way

Remember, the pleasure your crew derives from receiving achievement bonuses is three pronged. They want reward, recognition, and experience.  Following is a list of fun or different gift items sure to get people talking – adding more to the experience part of receiving the bonus.

Extraordinary shaving items

A variety of products found at The Art of Manliness

Give some fun from Etsy

Sleeve notes (you know who needs this)

Key finder (another of those products best suited for certain members of your team who most “deserve” or need them)

Consider the gift of home cooking made easy here, here, or here.

And of course, rubber duckies.   You decide how and when you pass out these little lovelies based on . . . well, who knows what! They’re just for fun.

Perhaps you can start a rubber ducky tradition, similar to the golden banana award tradition. If you don’t already know about the Hewlett Packard Golden Banana Award each of these articles includes the story. New York Times.   Smart Business.   Cindy Ventrice on LinkedIn.

If you missed part 1 you can find it here.

In part 3 expect expanded information concerning how to implement a bonus program based on the 6 Ds mentioned above. Plus, there will be a simple example of the system used in “real life.”

Call today to get in on the Schulte and Schulte accounting advice you need. 866-629-7735

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