Alec Baldwin in “Glengarry Glen Ross” o or how not to motivate a commercial team.
Gamification and incentives
When we mention the word gamification, we talk about new ways to encourage teams. We believe that the carrot-and-stick approach is old-fashioned. This way of motivation based on rewards and punishments shows short-term results, but it leads to the elimination of any kind of motivation in the long term; it also encourages employees to look for new job alternatives.
We can find an illustrative example of this way of leadership and commercial team motivation in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. In this movie, the character of Alec Baldwin “motivates” a team of estate agents, telling them that they all are fired, and the person who sells the most will recover the job and will receive a new fabulous car; the second best seller will receive a knife set. As we already know, this way to encourage the sellers resulted in a terrible battle which is not desirable at all for the continuity of long-term projects.
So it is necessary to look for new ways to motivate teams, especially sellers because they demonstrate lower commitment with projects than the rest of the members of a team.
What is an employee incentive?
An incentive is an object, item of value or desired action or event offered to an employee to improve work performance. What types of incentives are we referring to? We can talk about monetary incentives and non-monetary incentives.
▷Non-monetary incentives: better work schedules, trainings, or travels are just some examples of non-monetary incentives that can be offered to employees. Playing, reaching goals, and competing against other players in virtual adventures as climbers or runners can be also considered as incentives. In this case, we are talking about intrinsic motivation, the one that arises from the individual in order to surpass himself and be better.
▷Monetary incentives: this type of incentive, by definition, is the wage. This is a remuneration paid by an employer to an employee in exchange for work done. Other monetary incentives can be added to this wage: shares, bonus… One of the most popular incentives are sales commissions because, from the perspective of motivation, they allow to establish clear goals. If the goal is reached, the seller receives the commission.
Monetary incentives in gamification
Before starting a game to improve our sales, it is important to decide the total budget which will be divided between our employees as monetary incentives. Although it is obvious that part of motivation is created by the dynamics, we cannot forget about establishing defined goals and these goals need to be associated with rewards.
How do we divide these rewards?
The more chances to get the reward, the more motivation will be in the team. Games with rewards of lower value but with more possibilities to obtain work much better than those with only one big prize. Our experience showed us that sales increase more when 70% of the employees regularly receive, for example, Amazon vouchers worth between 20€ and 100€. Offering a trip to an idyllic island for only one of the sellers is not effective. The idea of receiving at least part of the incentives is much more effective to keep motivation high in the team. If the participants perceive the reward as something unreachable, they will lose motivation and interest, so the incentives will not increase their performance.
So how often do we give these rewards?
The sooner the better, it is important not to wait too long to given them if you want to keep the motivation of your sales team. With gamification it is possible to establish the pace of the game that allows us to continuously evaluate the performance of the players. Delivering part of the prize weekly is much more effective than waiting a month to evaluate performance and give the entire reward. This way, all participants are always willing to reach the goals.
We encourage commercial teams by including monetary incentives in gamified adventures, where almost everybody regularly receives a reward.