Incentivising Performance

Last updated: June 3, 2018 at 15:15 pm

work photoAn incentive is a reward offered for an action completed. For example, if you promise your child that you will give him an ice cream after he bathes the dog, you are giving him an “incentive” to bathe the dog. In other words, you are “incentivising” the action of bathing the dog. The child is then likely to become more enthusiastic about bathing the dog, because he knows that there is a greater reward at the end of bathing the dog than just seeing how clean it looks.

Incentivising performance is similar to motivating workers. However, the term “incentivise” takes on a more narrow definition than the term “motivate.” There are thousands of ways to motivate workers, including incentivising performance. Incentising is confined to the offering of rewards or the increase of the usual reward.

So what’s this all about? Most humans are lazy and pleasure-seeking by nature. They love long walks on the beach looking out in wonder at the afternoon sunset, and they love staring into the night skies and admiring the work of God’s fingers – which is not a bad thing. Humans also love hearty meals which put them to sleep, and they love nibbling on their favorite popcorn as they savor their favorite movies.

What about long showers, splashing in the ocean, and oh – the all-time favorite – gossiping? Yes, the list goes on. But what about work? And hard work. Except for the time when God threw manna from heaven, and on other rare occasions, food doesn’t literally fall from the sky.

And if humans don’t get their asses up and work, literally, they won’t be able to pay the bills that come with all those things they love so much. Did I mention cuddling up in a blanket all day while the rain is falling?

But how exactly do you get humans to work? No, you’re not allowed to beat them like the good ole days of slavery. Sorry, I meant the “horrible” old days of slavery. No, slavery is never a good thing, and it never pays off. I’ve seen many a descendant of slave owners now walking the earth as paupers. As the bible says, “wealth gotten by fraudulent means will fritter away.” Emphasis mine. And then comes the divine repurcussion: Karma. Yes, “what you sow is what you will reap.”

But let’s not divert from the topic. How do you get humans to love work, and to work hard? It can be a bit of a challenge. It has been proven beyond the inkling of a doubt that communism as a system of government is a complete failure. Why? Because communism strips the motivational factors out of work. In the communist system, people can only earn “so much,” no matter how hard or smart or how much they work. So people working under a communist system have no incentive to “push” themselves to the max. They have no incentive or motivation to work harder and smarter, or to innovate, invent, devise and create.

The capitalist system on the other hand provides these elements. The capitalist system gives the common workers a grip on the socio-economic ladder. At the same time, it gives employers incentive to become more and more efficient. The smarter, stronger, and more efficient you are, the higher you can climb, and the sky is not the limit.

But then comes the counterblast: exploitation of the poor or working class. Yes, while the capitalist system provides a margin for upward socio-economic movement of the working class, it is rather scant compared to the leeway given to the employers or ruling class whose task is to “cut costs at all costs – even at the expense of exploiting the poor.” And that sure is a bad thing.

When a man or woman comes home from a hard day’s work and looks at his or her meager earnings, and then looks five or ten years up the road and try to figure out where this will get them – and then realize that they’re screwed because they seem to be trapped on a treadmill – it’s a bit of a demotivator. OK. So it’s a GREAT demotivator.

OK. So communism is a failure and capitalism is a failure, so what then is the answer? You’ve all heard it before, and I’ll tell you again: Jesus is the answer.

But Jesus wants us to be wise. So I’ll tell you a little story and hope it inspires a little bit of wisdom into you.

When I came to manage the Amazonas Hotel, Restaurant and Bar in Lethem Rupununi in the year 2018, I met two women who were working as employees there: Muriel and Duel. Well, they were always in a rush to go home, and not that keen on making customers happy. They were a bit demotivated. What could we do to make them more motivated?

Give them more money right? Yes, money is indeed a great motivating factor. Money is a driving force. Let me give you an illustration. Imagine your little brother walks into the room dog tired, and as he was talking off his shoes, you tell him, “go back to the shop….” And you weren’t able to complete your sentence before his shoes hit you in the face…uggh. Then he collapses on the sofa and falls asleep.

But what if your brother knew that if he got his tired ass up and went back to shop, he would be given a million dollars upon his return? All of a sudden the tiredness would disappear, and he would feel as though he had just woken up from a long night’s sleep. Yes, he would run to the shop and return in no time flat.

But the question is, how do you find the money to motivate Muriel and Duel without going bankrupt? The answer: turn it all over to them. And that’s exactly what we, the management committee, did. We created a system where all profits over a certain ceiling goes to Muriel and Duel. Muriel and Duel from that day worked around the clock with big smiles on their faces and even got practically involved in the marketing and promotional aspects of the business.

Muriel and Duel’s hard work was “incentized.” Yes, that’s the power of incentizing performance. Remember, humans will only work if they have a “good” reason to do so. And remember too that such intelligent win-win systems eliminate the possibility and threat of rebellion and contempt.

Today, many employers in the capitalist world are driven by greed to exploit the working class. This leads to bitterness between the working class and the ruling class. Don’t be narrow minded. Open your heart up and let wisdom flow in. Give people “incentives” to work harder, and they will.

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