The business coach with Laura Murphy: Rewarding the workforce

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Question: “My HR manager wants to start a financial reward scheme for those who come into work each day. But that’s what they should be doing anyway, isn’t it?” Jonathan

Answer: “I understand both viewpoints and there’s nothing wrong with having a reward scheme. The Post Office had one because of sky high absence rates but it was a temporary solution and tied in to a host of other initiatives. Your blanket scheme as proposed could be an own goal. It acts as a disincentive as those who miss a day aren’t rewarded, the genuinely ill can feel victimised, and people fight to maintain their bonus so bring sickness into work.

The answer lies in identifying the real problem you’re trying to solve. Attendance is mistaken for productivity and, from what you’ve told me, your HR manager has mis-identified the issue. Productivity can be managed and incentivised. So together establish the minimum expected (eg being available for work) and what constitutes going the extra mile. Agree how you are going to provide leadership in getting the message out to managers and staff.

Keep any rewards local and in this tough financial climate, low key. Peer and management support has more impact on changing behaviour than grand gestures from the MD although a letter from you at year end to everyone who’s made a difference wouldn’t go amiss.”

Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd. To solve your problem email laura@mtc2.co.uk Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.