Anything that motivates an individual, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, can be described as an incentive. Whether it’s money, a sense of accomplishment, or even a warm fuzzy feeling we get from helping someone, there is always an incentive that drives us to do what we do. The challenge is to incentivize people to do what drives performance, and a big component of that is measurement. That’s where we need data – bits of information that allow us to measure results and put a number to a product of incentive.
The Importance of BIG Data
There is an intricate chain of cause-and-effect between motivational incentives and performance output. No situation is remotely controllable or repeatable enough to qualify as an environment for a scientific experiment, so the best we can do is identify as many factors as we can that may fall between the cause and the effect, and track all of them to establish a semblance of a pattern.
In order to do that, one would need a very sophisticated network of measurements, recording, data transfer, cleaning, storage, analysis, reporting and so on, just to be able to handle such information and make something out of it. That process can allow us to observe the changes in performance that occur due to changes in certain incentives and determine if the incentive strategy is right for the company or if a different and better approach can be applied to maximize the results and, ultimately, return on investment.
We’re not talking laying bricks to build a wall; we are talking about building an entire house out of various materials, each serving its own purpose, and handled in different ways, by different people, using different tools, and utilizing different processes.
Incentive Strategy Using Data
If that process is established, however, it becomes very possible to identify key factors in performance change and target those factors to capitalize on their effect. That process can allow us to observe the changes in performance that occur due to changes in certain incentives and determine if the incentive strategy is right for the company or if a different and better approach can be applied to maximize the results and, ultimately, return on investment. We may establish what works as an effective incentive for people of certain characteristics (demographics, position, socioeconomic status, industry, field, age group, gender, geographic location etc.) and tailor the incentives to their preferences.
Most importantly, tracking the change in performance helps us to make sure that we are rewarding the desired behavior. Oftentimes, the inefficiencies in cause-and-effect dynamics are due to the rewards being slightly (and sometimes grossly) offset from the behavior that a company is trying to encourage. When tracked and monitored effectively, data analysis can ensure that the incentive efforts are targeted correctly and that not only the ends but also the means are incentivized properly.
As difficult as it is to measure something as intangible as motivation, when approached correctly, it is possible to track specific criteria that paint a picture of the effect certain motivating factors have on performance. By employing data analysis, we can isolate the incentives that motivate people, ways in which they affect performance, and track their effectiveness via changes in key performance indicators. The biggest challenge in accomplishing that is setting up tracking and monitoring in a way that allows us to grasp the full picture, but with sufficient data reporting, processing, and analysis, it can be accomplished to achieve significant results.
Data's Role in Transforming a Rewards Program
Hard evidence is undeniable when evaluating the success of your business' growth. The focus is not the data itself, but rather the transformation of that data and making it something valuable. You can tangibly see how your participants are doing, see what works and what doesn't, and communicate that data to your team to strengthen the weaknesses and balance out your program. When tracked and monitored effectively, data analysis can ensure that the incentive efforts are targeted correctly and that not only the ends but also the means are incentivized properly.
Some of the benefits to your rewards platform that comes from analysis of data from Galactic are:
- Generation of reports to help structure the program
- Take the data and make it valuable to your business
- Find weak points/gap in information and make them stronger
- Create more tangible rewards based on how the program played out in previous terms
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