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Why Using a Bonus Program Is an Effective Motivational Tool

Feb 20, 2024 by Great Game Team 0 Comments

shutterstock_613287146Like most business owners, you seek innovative ways to motivate your teams, enhance productivity, and achieve sustainable success. One powerful strategy is the implementing bonus programs

Our philosophy uses bonus programs to align individual and team efforts with organizational goals. This motivational tool is a key to keeping your employees happy and working efficiently. 

We'll share our expertise about the transformative potential of bonus programs and explore why money as the reward is a crucial driver of motivation for participants.

The Great Game of Business Philosophy

The Great Game of Business (GGOB) is not your typical business coaching program. We advocate for open-book management, empowering employees at all levels to understand and contribute to the company's financial health. 

With its roots firmly planted in the heart of Springfield, Missouri, GGOB has become synonymous with driving positive organizational change through innovative management practices.

The Psychology of Motivation

Motivating employees requires an understanding of human psychology. No matter how passionate your team is about your business, they’re still working for you to support themselves financially. 

Related Post: The Building Blocks of an Effective Bonus Plan

Theories have been proposed over the years, but the idea that financial incentives are a substantial motivator remains a cornerstone in organizational behavior.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs suggests people are motivated by a hierarchy of needs, with physiological needs, such as food and shelter, forming the foundation. Money directly addresses these fundamental needs as a tangible reward, providing employees security and stability.

Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory

Moreover, Frederick Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory posits that hygiene factors, such as salary and working conditions, prevent dissatisfaction when adequate but do not necessarily motivate when present. In the context of a bonus program, money serves as both a hygiene factor and a motivator, creating a dual impact on employee satisfaction and performance.

Expectancy Theory

Expectancy Theory, proposed by Victor Vroom, assumes that people are motivated to act in a certain way if they believe their efforts will lead to a desired outcome and that outcome is valued. 

This means bonus programs give employees a clear link between their efforts, achieving specific goals, and receiving monetary rewards. Receiving a meaningful bonus serves as a powerful motivator. This is especially true when the criteria for earning the bonus are transparent and achievable. 

Employees are more likely to exert effort when they believe their actions will directly contribute to the desired outcome – in this case, a financial reward.

Reinforcement Theory

Reinforcement theory suggests that behavior followed by positive consequences is more likely to be repeated. A well-structured bonus program is a favorable reinforcement mechanism in the workplace. 

Employees who receive monetary rewards for achieving performance targets are more inclined to repeat the behaviors that led to that success. The immediate nature of money as a reward strengthens the association between performance and positive outcomes.

The Great Game of Business Approach

The Great Game of Business integrates these psychological principles into our unique management methodology. By fostering a culture of transparency and financial literacy, GGOB ensures that employees understand the organization's financial health and recognize the direct impact of their contributions.

Related Post: Is Your Bonus Program Sabotaging the Health of Your Business?

Bonus programs in the Great Game of Business are about monetary rewards and creating a sense of ownership and shared responsibility. When employees see a direct correlation between their efforts and financial success, they are more likely to be personally invested in the organization's goals.

Money as a Tangible and Meaningful Reward

A recent study from Mercer, a professional services firm, found pay was the number one satisfaction factor in the workplace. With rises in prices and overall inflation, employee pay has typically not risen to accommodate these expenses. In this environment, monetary rewards are more valued than ever. 

While non-monetary incentives like recognition and professional development are valuable, money is a game-changing motivator. In a bonus program, participants are rewarded for achieving specific targets, whether financial milestones, productivity goals, or other key performance indicators.

The effectiveness of money as a reward lies in its universality. Unlike other incentives with varying degrees of personal significance, money is a universally valued resource. It can cover basic needs and pursue personal aspirations, making it a versatile and highly appealing reward for participants in a bonus program.

Related Post: 7 Best Practices to Take Your Bonus Plan Up a Notch

Moreover, the perceived value of the reward is crucial in motivating individuals. Being a tangible and quantifiable thing, money provides a clear and measurable indicator of success. This clarity enhances the psychological impact of the reward, reinforcing the connection between effort and outcome.

Why Your Employees Value Their Bonuses Over Other Perks 

1. Immediate Financial Impact

Bonuses often come as a lump sum payment, providing employees an immediate and substantial financial boost. This is appealing to those with specific short-term financial goals or unexpected expenses. 

The immediacy of the financial impact distinguishes bonuses from certain non-monetary perks that may offer benefits over an extended period.

2. Equal Opportunity for All Employees

Bonuses are often distributed more uniformly across the workforce, providing an equal opportunity for all employees to be rewarded based on their performance. 

In contrast, certain non-monetary perks, such as coveted parking spaces or exclusive privileges, may be limited in availability and not accessible to everyone.

3. Flexibility in Usage

Similar to a regular salary, a bonus offers employees the flexibility to use the funds as they see fit. Whether it's addressing immediate financial needs, making personal investments, or enjoying leisure activities, the versatility of a bonus allows individuals to make choices that align with their preferences and priorities.

Creating a Win-Win Scenario

The Great Game of Business understands that for a bonus program to be truly effective, it must create a win-win scenario for both the employees and the organization. 

The program should align individual goals with the company's, fostering collaboration and shared success.

By using money as the reward, the Great Game of Business ensures that participants receive fair compensation for their efforts and actively contribute to the financial prosperity of the organization. This dual benefit strengthens the bond between employees and the company, creating a culture of mutual support and shared accountability.

Realizing the Potential: A Case Study

To illustrate the transformative impact of the Great Game of Business bonus programs, let's consider a case study. Willoway Nurseries needed a way to improve their company efficiency while communicating profitability with their team. 

To help accomplish this, Willoway embraced technology and results tracking and paid out maximum bonuses to all employees in 2019. 

As employees began to understand the direct link between their efforts and the company's financial success, a shift in mindset occurred. With money as the reward, the bonus program became a powerful motivator, driving employees to surpass targets and contribute to the company's growth.

The results were remarkable. “Having an engaged team has made my job easier in managing the tactical part of the business and trying harder to stay ahead of the wave,” said CEO Tom Demaline. The bonus program achieved its intended financial objectives and fostered a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration.

Start Growing Your Business

Innovation is the key to success. Organizations must leverage every available tool to motivate and engage their teams. The Great Game of Business, emphasizing open-book management and bonus programs, provides a compelling framework for achieving that.

We’ll help you create an effective bonus plan for your company. Our business coaches can evaluate your business model and identify growth opportunities. Learn more about boosting employee effectiveness and motivating them to work toward your business goals. 

By embracing Great Game of Business principles, organizations can unlock the full potential of their teams, creating a dynamic and thriving workplace where everyone is invested in the pursuit of excellence. Fill out the form below to get started!

Written by Great Game Team
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About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.