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3 tips to increase the Drive to Acquire & Achieve

Four Drive Model

The first drive in the Four Drive Model of Employee Motivation is the drive to Acquire & Achieve. This is typically the drive that most organizations focus on when they are trying to find a lever to influence employee motivation.

However, companies often get too caught up in the financial aspects of this drive (i.e., how much of a raise can we give, what is our targeted incentive/bonus payout, etc…).

The following are three quick tips to help you think about how to impact this drive and increase employee motivation.

1. It’s not just about the money. It is so much more…This drive also includes the drive to achieve. Achievement takes on a number of different forms. Think about this in terms of grades – there is no monetary component to this, yet we are driven to try to get an A. In organizations, recognition is a very powerful motivator because it recognizes individuals or group achievement (kind of like a report card). Organizations can tap into the drive to achieve by focusing on ensuring that recognition is done correctly (e.g., timely, relevant, and appropriate to the effort/result).

Achievement is also about setting realistic goals that can be achieved. Short-term milestones are elements to use to help keep this drive up. One way to think about this is to think about the need to reinforce achievement on at minimum every 5 weeks. If you don’t have a milestones set up that fall within that time frame, you will tend to lose people. Make sure that you celebrate those milestones as well.  One thing that we are trying to get better at The Lantern Group is celebrating when a project or milestone is done. We get so caught up in the next project or next event that we don’t take the time to stop and congratulate ourselves on a job well done.

2. Add Some Perks. While we tend to focus on the big items like pay and bonuses with this drive, some of the more powerful levers that we get to pull are smaller “perks” such as office space, titles, parking spots, flexibility to work from home and other things that help satisfy the Achieve drive.

In addition, there are a number of small perks that also tie into the Acquire side of the equation, such as pizza Fridays, movie days, lunch seminars, discounts on classes, days off, foosball or pool in the office, employee of the month/quarter/year… You will notice that a number of these also contribute to the other three drives of Bond & Belong, Challenge & Comprehend, and Define & Defendsee also Four Drive Model

3. Improve your Total Rewards Communication. Too many times we’ve worked with companies that offer fantastic total rewards – not just their base salary, but their benefits, bonus programs, culture and recognition opportunities; however, no one at the company knows about these programs!  This is because they are outlined in a legal terms in a five different 50 page HR documents. It is vital that you market what you are providing to people in a way that will capture their attention and convey the big picture.That means that you have to overcome silos within the organization and market your Total Rewards as a comprehensive program that highlights the offerings from across the organization.

Also, make sure that your Total Reward communications are not just a one-time effort at the beginning of the year, but instead a campaign that highlights various aspects of your offering throughout the year and keeps people engaged and charged up.

While the concept behind these ideas is simple, the implementation of them isn’t always as easy. If you need help, please give us a call. We can help you work through the issues and improve your employee’s motivation!


What type of short-term incentives work best?

I poised the following question to an on-line professional sales group that I’m a member of:

“What type of short term sales incentive rewards work best?  I was wondering what people in the group thought were the best types of short term incentive rewards? Research shows that most people will tend to pick cash but that performance actually is better with non-cash rewards (trips, merchandise, etc…). What are your experiences with this – have you seen a difference in sales results with different types of rewards?”  Within 24 hours I had received 45 responses.  I summarized those 45 responses and created the following summary that I presented back to them.  I thought that this might be interesting post for this blog as well… here is my summary:

Thanks everyone for such great input on this question. Your responses have definitely provided some great insight into what makes an effective short-term incentive. I will attempt to summarize the 45 posts on this so far and would love more feedback in case I’ve missed something.

In general, it appears that most respondents felt that cash is a key part of the overall compensation, but that it is probably NOT the best medium for a short-term program. There is a strong preference for non-cash and recognition type of rewards. As Greg D put it, “Recognition drives as much healthy sales will as money.” As indicated in the question itself, research has shown that non-cash awards typically outperform cash awards in the same incentive program. The general gist from the responses so far seems to support that finding. Dick O said it best when he said, “I can’t remember all of that cash that I’ve won. ..I’ll tell you though, that I remember each time I was recognized.”

There was also a significant emphasis on not having a “one-size fits all” approach and to create individual incentives whenever possible. Dana W summarizes this feeling with “No one incentive is going to work for all people.” Another aspect that was discussed was bringing in others (spouse, family) to the reward. These types of rewards were thought by some to provide “extra” incentive to earn them. Allowing sales person input into the actual award was also mentioned.

A key component to this all was brought up by Tim M and Tom F – that the structure of the incentive is as important or more important than the type of reward offered. On this I would have to agree. In my experience, how the program rules are structured, who is eligible to win (or more importantly believe that they can win), the timing of the incentive, and how results are measured are going to make or break any program. As Tim stated, “…the type of reward has less to do with the success or failure of a contest or incentive than the STRUCTURE and TIMING of the incentive.”

Thanks to everyone for their input – I’d love to have more discussion on this and how incentives can be structured to be more effective moving forward. On an end note, just some of the fun reward offerings that I found interesting: bottle of wine and dinner, time off, give to charitable foundation, becoming a member of a special “club.”


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