Incentivizing Your Top Employees: How and Why It Works

Posted by Don Polyak on Nov 20, 2018 9:18:39 AM

Impact Group employee motivation

There’s truth behind the well-known statement: people don’t leave jobs; they leave leaders. Most often, employees will look for new jobs not because they are underpaid or overworked, but because they feel unappreciated and undervalued.

Since it is a core human desire to feel like we matter, leaders must realize the importance of appreciating the talent they already have. In turn, this will save your bottom line a lot of stress, as your retention rate will likely be reduced and your staff will be more engaged in their work.

But there’s another piece to the puzzle: personalities.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple way to incentivize every person on your staff. Different people want different rewards, since they each encompass a wide range of likes and dislikes. If you don’t make an effort to understand what motivates each one of your employees, offering a certain incentive may backfire on productivity.

This is why behavioral assessments are necessary to developing a successful incentives program. By first focusing on their intrinsic motivations and then offering an extrinsic motivation, you can uncover the types of incentives that will work best with the diverse behaviors that constitute your company.


The Value of a DISC Assessment

Businesses with higher than average levels of engagement from employees report 27% higher profits, 50% higher sales, 50% higher customer loyalty levels and 38% above-average productivity. Clearly, success is directly impacted by motivating employees—which is why conducting a behavioral assessment is vital to the health of your organization. 

Behavioral assessments discover what motivates and engages a person, helping leaders find the right people for the right positions. In particular, using an assessment such as TTI DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance) can directly improve teamwork and allow you to understand communication styles.

DISC ultimately reveals “how” people behave the way that they do, identifying unique behavioral styles. For leaders, having the capability to recognize an employee’s behavioral style can suggest ways to effectively motivate a person.

Further, collaborating with employees in a manner that’s consistent with their individual behavior will often lead to better engagement overall. And with 77% of employees confirming that they would work harder if they were better recognized, it is vital for leaders to prioritize appreciation of their staff. 

impact group staff

Rules for Rewards Backed by Science

Once you’ve discovered what engages a person by examining their personality, you can begin to implement an individualized incentives scheme that actually improves your business.

As you begin to develop rewards based for each person based on their behavioral styles, there are six rules that you should keep in mind. Backed by science, these rules should act as the umbrella for the incentives you develop, as they will underscore fairness and objectivity. 

  1. Don’t guarantee any rewards in advance.

  1. Keep the anticipated rewards small.

  1. Reward regularly, not just one time.

  1. Reward in public, not in private.

  1. Reward behaviors, not only outcomes.

  1. Reward peers as well as subordinates.


Before you waste time and resources on extrinsic motivations, focus on understanding what motivates your staff based on their intrinsic desires. Before long, incentivizing your employees based on their behavioral styles will lead to improved engagement and productivity—resulting in reward for you, too.

Topics: Employee retention, Motivation, Appreciology, Marketing, Employee satisfaction, Engagement

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