Smart companies (and 3-year-olds) understand the power of a tempting reward

Kane Wagstaff

What makes you work harder? The challenge, the recognition, the fear of failure, the potential rewards?

If you’re like me, it’s actually a pick n mix of all of the above, plus many more subtle drivers linked to your age, experience and environment (personal and professional). The mix shifts over time but for the vast majority of us (bar the very fortunate) there is a fundamental primary driver - the generation of wealth.

No doubt many of you, like myself, will have seen your own definition of wealth change over time. From the post-grad jubilation of disposable cash in the bank to the more complex grown-up world of secure family assets and greater work life balance.

Understanding what makes you and your team tick is key to driving and maintaining productivity. Building that knowledge into a workable incentive scheme is the challenge businesses face. Get it right and you will fly, get it wrong and you will be wading through treacle.

The construction consultancy market has historically been way off the pace when it comes to incentivised packages

Incentivisation runs through the heart of modern day life, from coaxing the kids to influencing where we do our weekly shop. Our industry recognises that it is central to successful negotiation and collaboration but often lets it go AWOL when it comes to the business engine room - its staff.

The construction consultancy market has historically been way off the pace when it comes to incentivised packages. There is a tendency to lump everything it can into the basic, then agonise over the token discretionary bonuses it can squeeze out of the loose change at year end. The only thing this motivates staff to do is move on after a short stay to secure a financial step up. The talent has little incentive to excel and the average are happy to cruise - productivity stays flat, profits stay low and the downward spiral takes hold.

The market is changing though and the smart companies are recognising the benefits of incentivisation - profit share schemes, access to equity (short and long term), finder’s fees and the like are attracting the best and raising performance levels. It’s not all about splashing the cash - flexibility on the working day, holiday entitlement and pub (and or gym) time can be equally important.

It’s quite straightforward and just needs a bit of thought and attention to the individual.

My little boy gets it and he’s only 3 - if only cola bottles and toy cars worked with my team!

Kane Wagstaff is head of cost management at Jones Lang LaSalle