Incentive design malpractice is rampant.

I’ll say it again since it is worth repeating. Incentive design malpractice is rampant.

It’s easy to spot. Simply look at the way people earn commissions or award points, etc. If 100% of the criteria are outcomes i.e.: sales, units, conversion rates, etc. If that is the case, you are looking at incentive malpractice.

Too many programs are designed to simply reward outcomes. The logic is this:

“The company doesn’t make money until those metrics are hit so I reward those metrics.”

The fault in this line of thinking is they assume there is nothing that needs to happen BEFORE any of those outcomes. They ignore the fact people need to “do things” before the outcomes.

Not hitting the outcome goal isn’t the problem. Your audience not doing the behaviors (or doing them poorly) that LEAD to outcomes is your problem.

Think on that a bit.

Want more sales? Reward steps to the sale.

Want more profit? Reward people who present/research/learn about additional products and services so they can have conversations with their clients and ultimately get – wait for it – those enhanced outcomes.

You can only achieve an outcome or hit a goal by behaving your way there.

Reward the behaviors.

Bonus Reading for Friday

Here’s an interesting article on setting small goals that I thought you might like. It’s not incentive or even business focused. It’s a bit more personal but I enjoyed it and thought you might.

However, the message is similar. Small goals allow you to experience the feeling of success (multiple times.) We like that feeling. Your target audiences like that feeling. Because they like hitting those small goals they will want to do more of them. Let them. Keep those small incentives flowing and watch your “ignored” outcomes hit new levels of success.

I’m not suggesting you not reward those that hit high levels of performance. It is worth celebrating. Don’t ignore outcome attainment – just don’t make it the single point of failure in your incentive program.

Open Casting Call

As always, I’m here to help. Call me to help you suss out the best structure for any goal that relies on human behavior.

In other words…. ANY goal you have. Call me maybe?