Bonuses in the form of an experience are the future when it comes to keeping employees motivated and enthusiastic. Experiences and associated bonus systems appear to work better. Rewards are remembered better if we send people somewhere, get them out of the office, or give them the chance to do something they have never done before. That is far better than the classic monetary bonus for working hard or achieving an objective.
A one-off monetary bonus in your bank account is great, but soon forgotten. However, you are unlikely to forget eating out with the director, or spending a weekend away with your partner. We forget numbers quickly, but experiences linger. Recent studies (by the London School of Economics, amongst others) show that a monetary bonus does not bring about improvement in employee performance. Performance remains the same or even deteriorates.
Watch this ten-minute video, an RSA Animation by Daniel Pink about the surprising truth about what motivates us which has been watched 15 million times on YouTube.
A bonus must have meaning
Distinguishing between bonuses for top performers and bonuses for average performers only makes sense if it means something. If it does not mean anything, employees will not change their behaviour.
Gartner found that a monetary bonus only means something to people if it is 50% higher than that of colleagues. Top performers therefore need to get 50% more than average employees to ensure the bonus is meaningful.
Small bonuses serve no purpose whatsoever, that much is clear. But paying out large bonuses could be a waste too, because as shown in Daniel Pink’s video, the impact on performance is debatable.
Experiences that tie in with someone’s interests have far more potential to be meaningful. For example, enjoyable and meaningful experiences such as a visit to the sauna, an outing to an amusement park for 4 people, or a sports match.
One condition for shaping an experiential bonus system entails finding out what interests people or what is of potential interest. New sensations or surprises can often have an even greater impact on the experience and consequently make it even more meaningful.
Bonus: the social impact of giving an experience
Give someone an enjoyable, inspirational, or challenging experience. People share experiences and nowadays do so online. This also shows your brand in a positive light outside of the organisation, and internally employees are far more likely to put in that extra effort to earn that outing, just like their colleague.
Have you already decided what experiential bonus you are going to give your employees? You can measure the impact of your experiential bonus and increase engagement via Solkie by taking a poll as to what people enjoy most.
Whatever you choose, ensure it is a fantastic experience they will never forget and will share with all their friends.
Solkie’s engagement questionnaire takes 5 minutes to complete and enables employees to give their opinion without you as the manager to speak to everyone every month and update these results on an Excel spreadsheet. That saves time.