Incentive programs provide rewards for hitting specific goals. Typically, the incentive program will announce the requirements and as you perform and hit the specified hurdles, you earn awards – points, credits, what have you.
Your points are good for merchandise, gift cards, travel, you name it.
All good in the hood right?
Maybe you could enhance performance by simply asking a question before you start the program.
Prediction = Increased Prediction
A recent post on the FutureLab site talks about research into consumer activity and to quote the post:
"Research shows that if you want to get people to do something, you should ask them to predict if they will do it. An affirmative answer greatly increases the probability that they will follow through."
The research highlighted in this article goes on to say...
- Ask customers about their intent to buy your brand or product. Even this small step (mere measurement) will have a positive effect.
- Get an affirmative answer. Plenty of studies show that if a person states a positive intention, they are more likely to act on it.
- If possible, get a public or tangible commitment. This may not always be possible or even appropriate, but if it happens it will further increase the probability of future action.
While this post is all about consumer behaviors – getting people to “buy” – why wouldn’t the same hold true for incentive and performance programs?
Commitment and Consistency
We’ve talked about these social psychology triggers before. People like to remain consistent with their past behaviors and commitments. Prediction is a form of commitment.
So...couldn’t you increase the chances of your audience following through on program goals if you hit them with a double whammy – asking them if they will participate and hit goals – and reward them when they do?
It’s not really a new idea...
In the days before electrons we used to send out a commitment card to the participants asking them to commit to the program and complete a wish list of items they might want to redeem for out of the award catalog. We’d also offer bonus points for completing the card.
Little did we know we were ahead of the curve.
So... Now go back to the three points highligted above...Take out the words “buy your brand or product” and replace it with “participate in the program and earn and redeem points for awards.”
This doesn't have to be only for incentive and reward programs. Any performance issue you want to focus on can take advantage of our human desire to be consistent.
Before telling an employee what to do - ask them if they think they CAN do it. Ask them if they think they WILL do it. Ask them to predict outcomes. These questions can increase the odds it will happen.
Ask and ye shall receive.