Home > Career, Organizational Culture > An Incentive that lasts forever!

An Incentive that lasts forever!


I am going to deal with incentives at two levels here – will briefly dwell on the practical aspects and then move on to the emotional connect people have with R & R, which I think has makes a lasting impact on them. The emotional connect remains long after the material benefits have gone and I have proof for that.

People work for a number of reasons:

–          To be gainfully employed

–          To apply their knowledge and skills

–          For achievements

–          For personal glory

–          To satisfy their ego

But they also work to be involved in ventures that are larger than life – to work with a team of people who are smart and co-operative, participating in projects that make an impact on the community and also to leave behind a legacy that is not limited by the definition of their role – and in addition to serving that greater purpose I strongly believe that most people seek validation and recognition for their work.

When incentives or Reward and Recognition programs are announced by any organisation there would be some business objectives defined – such as targets to be achieved, target groups to be approached, geographical areas to be developed and products or services to be promoted. The timelines and quanta are clearly outlined along with the benefits that accrue to the achievers – the goodies can be in the form of money, material, certificates or medals.

People are motivated to go for these goals because it is fun to take up a challenge and to gain the additional material or cash benefits that are promised. The programs are given visibility and driven with periodic updates and review. I am going to elaborate on some of these programs on a later date.

But let’s move on – I wish to share two stories:

After something like 11-12 years I connected with the former employee of one of the dealers I used to be associated with in the past. I hadn’t kept in touch with this person after he and I moved on to other assignments. From the Facebook profile I gathered that he is running a small business now and doing well for himself. But within a week of connecting with me he asked for my email ID and that set me thinking. I thought that he probably needed a job or some other support – pictures that people present of themselves on Facebook can be far from real.

I sent him my email ID and he replied immediately; the message had a scanned copy of a letter that bore my signature!

His email said:
“Sir, you gave me this certificate more than a decade ago. It is something I will cherish all my life. It’s kept framed in my office.”

I was floored by his email – never saw it coming.

Imagine the impact of a small gesture! The certificate just said that the recipient receives congratulations for achieving a target and his commitment has been recognised and appreciated.


I recently visited the H R Manager of a telecom service provider in Kerala. I was introduced by a former colleague who had been a member of my team 8 years back.

After the introductions and exchange of pleasantries the H.R. Manager said:

“So you are the man who gave him the watch! He wears it to work every single day, even if it isn’t working. And he is really crabby when it isn’t running. He harasses the service outlet to get the necessary spares. This model is no longer sold by the company – but he sits on their head till a solution is provided. I think you have made a huge impact on him. He tells us the story of the watch so often.”

Isn’t that amazing? A little bit of appreciation, support and guidance has far more impact than a lakh of rupees.

People crave for attention, acknowledgement, appreciation and recognition – if you can help them achieve goals, praise them in front of others, giving credit when it’s due, offer words of support and guidance, showcase their work to the Seniors and give a friendly pat every once in a while you win them over for life.

Trust me on this …. it’s the biggest incentive you can ever give your team!

  1. Shalini James
    June 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    The men described here have given you the biggest incentive to keep up your good work. The time and effort invested in motivating people is totally worth it.

    • JayadevM
      June 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      Well said, Shalini!

      While I wrote the article my thoughts lingered on that aspect too. It’s an incentive for the giver too.

      Thank you for sharing those thoughts.

  2. June 29, 2012 at 1:21 am

    While R&R could be a routine and a thrill or a mere frill, few know the art of touching people’s hearts. You are obviously the Midas who isn’t aware how many pebbles he has touched en route as he has moved along.

    • JayadevM
      June 29, 2012 at 3:58 am

      Hi Umashankar

      Another reader Shalini mentioned in her comment “the person who gives gets an incentive too” … and I sure have benefited from the support provided to my team. It helped me grow. But, I have not been Midas always, there is enough scope for improvement. 🙂

      You have been a Midas too: Encouraging this blog for the last few months with your visits and supportive comments. Thank you!

      I agree that R & R has the power to go way beyond being a just a business development activity; orgnaisations and Managers who understand this achieve much more than the targets defined by the scheme.

  3. G.Venu Gopal
    June 29, 2012 at 4:39 am

    a monetary incentive is often forgotten the moment the money is spent . its small gestures , appreciation letters ,why even a pat on the back will be an encouragement to perform even better.

    • JayadevM
      June 29, 2012 at 6:07 am

      Hi Venu

      Having been at the leadership level for so many years you know it from first-hand experience.

      Thank you for confirming and adding-value to the main premise of my article.

  4. June 29, 2012 at 6:10 am

    By displaying how they were motivated, they should have motivated you further to keep appreciating things rt? Very thought-provoking post…More than any carrot or stick approach, a word of true appreciation can create wonders in any work environment. Well Said.

    • JayadevM
      June 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Jayashree

      Wonderful thought. I am sure you are practising these methods at your workplace too.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the kind words of support.

  5. Jamy
    June 30, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Haha Jay! I read this blog after the Go Get it Blog! The comment I made on that one is more relevant to this one…. all the same it is true, so true! Nothing like a small simple gesture like a pat on the back, or a congratulatory handshake or something like what my current GM does- he would call me when I’m really busy and ask if I have a moment to meet him in his office in a very grim tone and I would somehow make it to his office thinking something is really wrong only to be greeted with a smile, a firm handshake and a pat on the back thanking me for a great job during a particular weekend and then in the same breath reminding me to keep it going. What more could I ask for- I felt so good!! Even a simple Thank You to someone can make such a big difference. Great read indeed Jay!

    • JayadevM
      June 30, 2012 at 6:14 am

      Hi Jamy

      That is a brilliant example of Lasting Impressions and Incentive that Lasts a Lifetime .. great leader you have there.

      Thank you for sharing that experience.

      … and Happy Birthday to my most regular reader! 🙂

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