Many carmakers and retailers use incentives, usually financial, to improve staff performance, but this method only really works if they are first trained to have a positive state of mind.
John Sylvester, executive director of Performance and Motivation Management, believes that that the key to a well-motivated work force is looking at the individuals in the organization and identifying what captures their imagination and how to exploit that effectively to boost motivation.
“The best motivation programmes operate over a longer term. They become part of a positive working culture that underpins areas like training participation, long service and idea generation,” he says.
“A well-constructed motivation programme will first test that the core skills and competencies are in place. Assuming they are, the programme should work alongside any formal training that is being done to reinforce knowledge and behaviours.”
With the growth of e-learning, incentives can be used to encourage individuals to complete modules according to a specific time plan and to reward results.
“Product knowledge tests can provide additional opportunity to earn rewards and more complex behaviours such as customer-handling skills can be tested and rewarded through, for example, mystery shopping programmes,” Sylvester says.
Case study, Mill Garages Volvo
“As an automotive dealer group we sometimes benefit from manufacturer incentives. We are able to share the opportunity to earn bonuses with our sales and aftersales teams,” says Bill Ward, group principal, Mill Garages.
“These incentives work. Morale is always good but it seems to pick up a little when there is incentive activity. There are obvious benefits for the business too with increases in performance, sales and profit.
“Volvo do try to mix up their incentive types, be it a straight unit reward, prize draw, or ‘ring and win’ and we once had an online scratch card. All were different but each one generated a positive reaction.
“Our staff are self motivated. However, these little injections do provide an extra lift and we can utilise the reward generated at our discretion to ensure we as a business maximise every opportunity to achieve our targets.”