Posts Tagged ‘Reward & Recognition’

On Air – Interview on Radio ME 100.3

August 30, 2012 14 comments

Earlier today someone I knew as a budding professional reconnected with me after more than a decade – back then Kris Iyer had just completed his Engineering Degree and was embarking on a career in Sales & Marketing.

He was a member of the Rotaract Club sponsored by the Rotary Club of Trivandrum, of which I was member. We used to interact closely in many cultural and leadership development events that were conducted by the Rotaract Club. In addition to good organising and leadership skills he was a good speaker too – this last skill helped in him achieve success as Compere and Radio Presenter.

Today that young professional is working as the Programming Head of a leading FM Radio Station in Dubai (Radio ME 100.3).

His interest was media and events – after working in the Event Management domain for a while in Kerala he moved to UAE and shifted focus to media, primarily Radio.

Kris (easier on the tongue than Krishnan, which is how I knew him) worked as RJ and Program Presenter before taking on Program Production and grew to the position of Programming Head.

I am sure it has been an exciting journey for him.

But the real surprise was yet to come – he wrote: “Jayadev, I have read many of the articles presented on the Sales Coach Blog and found them extremely useful and interesting.  Please give me your number. I wish to call and discuss a program we can do on Radio ME.”

Around 11:30 a.m. I got this call from a Dubai number and the voice said: “Hi, Jayadev! This is Kris!”

We spent some time chatting about friends and what each of us had been doing in the intervening years. After that he shifted gear and started asking questions about Sales and the subjects I write about.

I did not know that he was setting me up for something – but out of the blue he said: “Hang on! We will be going on air shortly – we have a Business Talk segment in which various Business Managers and other Industry Experts are interviewed and today we are presenting you as the Zig Ziglar of India.”

To say that it was my biggest jaw-dropping moment of the year is an understatement. I did not expect it at all – not right then. I was sure he would do it soon, but not today. Wow! I mean …. WOW!!!

However, all the years spent in training and all the talks I have made before audiences held me in good stead and I could speak with ease and felicity. Kris asked questions regarding Training, Sales Training, Talent Development and the quantum of investments organisations should make on training – he also asked about training agendas of organisations in India and the middle-east.

I answered all the questions with absolute clarity because these subjects are so dear to my heart. I could go on, but I think I said enough to make a start.

If there was a little bit of concern it was the speed at which I delivered the message – I thought I spoke too fast – the next time I would slow down a bit and structure the message some more – this time it was more like a free-wheeling chat. And going by the input received from Kris there are chances of more interviews. But that’s for later.

For now let me just celebrate this achievement and enjoy the moment.

Thank you, Kris …. Thank you, Radio ME …. you made my day!

P.S: I hope to upload the Voice Byte soon!


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Go get it!

June 29, 2012 4 comments

Yesterday we put our emotions into overdrive while discussing legacies and impressions that last a lifetime; today let us take a practical look at planning incentive schemes that push Sales teams to higher levels of performance.

Incentives schemes that work!

A few years back the telecom company that I worked with ran an incentive scheme for the entire channel sales team.  They were given number targets for the entire year, with quarterly expectations clearly specified – seasonality in sales was taken into consideration while dividing the target across the year. Every Sales Executive was given a Record-book to note his Sales data and it had to be signed each month by his boss (usually the owner of the dealership) and a representative from our organization (the local Operations Head).

Cash prizes and gifts were on offer for people who met expectations. The prizes were given away by the Regional Business Head at a gala function – the program was a runaway success. Story over.

No!! I am not done yet. The gifts and cash prizes were not the highlights of the program! A year-long series of Sales Training programs were announced along with the scheme. In order to win the highest level of incentives the Executives had to attend all the training programs proposed in the series – which happened once every quarter. Participation and performance in the training program were also recorded in the Record-book. All those who got through the post-training assessments with good grades got certificates and at the end of the year all Sales Executives who had successfully completed the entire series of training, and achieved the Sales Targets, were given Credentials which stated that they are Certified Sales Professionals.

More than the cash, the medals and the material incentives the Certificates were valued by the achievers. I am sure even today they are displayed at the Executives’ homes with pride.

The idea is to hit upon winning formulae, like this one, to make your incentive programs effective.

What is the purpose of the program?

–          To achieve a number target (number or revenue)

–          To promote a specific product or service

–          To promote business in a targeted area

–          To promote business in a defined segment


The scheme needs to be exciting; it should stretch the players to the limit, and still be achievable. The program design should ensure that the desired goals are met by the organization.

The reward could be items of everyday use, scholarships, a vehicle, a holiday package or just cash (but it is best to avoid giving cash in such schemes – these schemes are over and above salaries and bonuses). The intent of such programs is to drive specific goals that need special focus.

The schemes can be created on themes too – one organization I worked with had an all-male sales team. So our incentive programs would have a shirt in one month, a tie the next month and another accessory like a trouser-belt in the 3rd month. Or there would be a portfolio bag one month, a high-quality pen-set and a mobile phone the month after that. There would also be Gold Coins and home appliances on offer at other times. The idea is to provide something useful, something that keeps the team interested.

Education, training and certificates were the big draw all the time.


Incentive Programs can be of varying durations – the one I described earlier was a year-long program. But you can run shorter ones that could be anywhere from a day to a month long; it’s best to run the scheme when sales are hard to come by – the first week of the month or in a lean season. The scheme is run to prompt additional activity that would bring in business.


The requirements and the conditions are to be specified – what constitutes achievement needs to be clear to avoid disputes. The deadlines and the documentation need to be mentioned with great clarity. I have had to respond to angry team-members who thought they had met requirements and were being unfairly disqualified – the ambiguity in the terms drawn up for the scheme being the reason for their wrath.

A smartly designed scheme run at the right time can help the organization achieve its goal and keep the Sales Team motivated. Excellence all around!

An Incentive that lasts forever!

June 28, 2012 10 comments


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!

Who gets the Spoils?

June 11, 2012 10 comments

I have worked with more than one organisation where, after the incentives and bonuses are declared, people who didn’t make the cut grumbled among themselves about the unjust review systems and totally lopsided incentives program that were implemented by the Top Management.

And this is a routine occurrence at many organisations across the country. How I wish managements had spent time to read this amazing book ‘Execution’ that I reviewed just 2 days back. The book highlights the lacunae in the conventional Reward and Recognition programs adopted by most leading organisations.

Incentives have a flat structure – numbers are allocated to each resource without taking into account the factors that are relevant to the team-member’s market. Even if the factors are taken into cognizance the additional load in targets is not commensurate with the increased opportunities in the role-holder’s market. And usually the programs do not recognise efforts taken to Cut Costs or Revenue Enhancement activities undertaken by an individual. The targets are usually uni-dimensional.

Employees feel inspired and motivated when their talent and high-quality output get noticed and rewarded. Managers who notice, recognise and promote quality talent are able to retain people much longer. Dissatisfaction usually rises when everyone is measured the same yardstick and the reward system tries to please the lowest common denominator.

An employee who is working in a mature market with many competitors and another employee who is working in a new market with huge opportunities and few competitors should not be measured the same way. There could be a 3rd person who at the end of the year failed to reach fresh sale targets but had excelled in huge process optimization, cost cutting and added revenue on after-sale service.

In the conventional system the 3rd person would not get any incentive, the second person would get graded the best and walk away with the highest rewards and the first person would also make the cut and get an incentive, but lower than the second employee.

If a thorough analysis of the performance is made based on quality of effort, use of innovative methods and degree of difficulty in addition to the regular yardsticks you will find that the 3rd employee has delivered the best results and the 2nd guy the least.

Organisations need to worry when they are promoting mediocrity. In order to retain quality talent organisations have to innovate and adopt exciting people practices that recognise and reward merit … one size does not fit all and pleasing everyone is not the best way to stay productive and profitable.

Spoil your best talent with The Goodies and they will keep performing at their best!

P.S.: I agree that Sales Incentives and Bonuses become due only when the organisation is profitable, but it wouldn’t be fair to penalise performers when the rest of the team fails.

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