If you ask most people, they could not tell you the top ways they want to be rewarded and incentivized at work. There is a way to find out specifically WHAT those rewards are, so you can work to keep your top talent happy!

Work Rewards and Incentives | Episode 89

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Epic Company Culture Podcast where your host, Josh Sweeney, will give you the business leaders, HR professionals and company culture aficionados the knowledge you need to take your company culture to the next level.

Josh Sweeney: Hello my name’s Josh Sweeney, and welcome to the Epic Company Culture Podcast. This is Season Three which is all about retention, and I’m joined here by my cohost Crystal Sweeney.

Crystal Sweeney: Hi. Thank you for having me.

Josh Sweeney: Thank you for joining us. Before we get started we would like to thank Protype Prime for this amazing podcasting space. The topic of today is work rewards and incentives. We do a lot of work around understanding work rewards, how to incentivize people based on their specific personality traits.

Work Rewards (Motivators)

Crystal, could you give us a little bit of an overview about what work rewards are, how they’re different from the other ways that people incentivize. Just give us a little overview.

Crystal Sweeney: Oh yes. I absolutely find it fascinating just discovering individuals’ work rewards. They are very different as far as there are people who are more relationship driven; there are people who are more results driven, and their work rewards fall right in line with that. In the discovery process it really resonates with people when we do the assessments and they see what their top five work rewards are.

The Check-In

Then we’re able to take those work rewards, we put it in a survey, and we reach out to them on a monthly basis and say, “Hey, these are your work rewards. How are we doing in providing those rewards to you? Do you feel like you’re being rewarded?” And then from there you’re able to make adjustments to kind of accommodate that in your culture.

Personally Unique to the Individual

Josh Sweeney: Yeah. The thing I’m loving about the work rewards is it’s extremely specific to their personality as you mentioned. A lot of people do these one-off incentive plans, and they say, “Okay, we’re going to incentivize everybody,” and it’s normally incentivized and rewarding them in the way that the manager would want to be incentivized. What we actually found is through a lot of assessments and testing, behavior analytics, all these other psychology testing and things that we are into and studying, is that there’s about 17 unique work rewards, and most people, if you ask them what their work reward is, other than money, which is kind of the fallback, they can’t really answer it.

Provides Verbiage

Crystal Sweeney: Yeah. When my work rewards, when I got my results, none of the verbiage that was given to me would have ever crossed my mind, but it made sense. And it was like, “Yeah, that’s absolutely what I’m looking for in a work environment. It’s definitely unique.

I also think it’s interesting how managers can actually use that to strategically place their employees where they need them. Just as an example, a work reward that we have is a LEADERSHIP POSITION, and if that’s something that shows up in somebody’s work reward, then that’s a great opportunity for managers and leadership within the organization to be able to reach out to that person and possibly grow them and move them into somebody they need.

Josh Sweeney: Yeah, and there’s actually personality traits that uncover that they want to be in a LEADERSHIP POSITION, and if they’re stuck in a frontline position for a long time, and they’re not getting that satisfied, then that’s going to decrease retention. That employee’s not going to stick around for a long time because that’s part of who they are, that upward momentum.

I like what you said earlier about the verbiage. You didn’t know the verbiage of your work rewards.  I think that’s a big part of … A lot of what we do is giving people vocabulary to really discuss what they’re feeling, like how do you turn something like, “Well I kind of feel like I want this and this,” into a set of vocabulary that everybody can really understand and know about.

Clarity for Future

Crystal Sweeney: Absolutely. Now that I know some of my work rewards, in the future if I’m going into a place of business I know what I’m looking for. Or I know what environment that best suits me, and so it’s setting myself up for success in the future as well. So I think it’s absolutely spot on and great way to get to know yourself and what you look for.

Josh Sweeney: Yeah, so other than a LEADERSHIP POSITION which is one of our 17 unique work rewards, what’s another work reward that comes up a lot that people may not think about?

Not Just Money

Crystal Sweeney: I’ll share one of mine that came up that never would have crossed my mind, and it’s WORK TRANQUILITY. That’s something that, especially in an entrepreneurial or a small business venture, a startup or whatever, WORK TRANQUILITY may not be what somebody would think about. It’s just a word that I wouldn’t put with describing work at all. That’s more of a go out for a workout or meditation or do a yoga session, and that’s where tranquility comes in.

But when I start looking in, “What does that mean for me?” It’s having a work environment that’s free of conflict or minimal in conflict, safe work environment. It’s just a peaceful place to be, and when actually reflecting upon that, it is very important to me. Because if I’m in an environment where there is a lot of conflict or things are always loud and noisy, then I may get overwhelmed or bogged down and I’m not going to be as productive as I could be.


Josh Sweeney: Yeah. I know one that came up the other day that we were really digging into was INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION. That was interesting to put that verbiage around a work reward because you don’t normally walk up to somebody  and say, “Other than money what kind of rewards would you like? What kind of incentives?” And they’re like, “Oh, I need more INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION.”

It’s just not in the vocabulary we normally use, and it was really interesting to dig into, what does that work reward mean? What does it mean to be intellectually stimulated and how does that play into the retention of the role because if that person needs it as a personality trait and doesn’t get it, then that’s going to lead to more turnover. They’re going to go find some other role where they can get that stimulation and get that level of thinking.

Different for Everyone

Crystal Sweeney: Right, and I actually struggled with that one with coming up with, what does that mean to somebody? Because it is not anywhere in my work rewards or vocabulary, so just as an individual looking at that going, “I can’t grasp that concept. What does that mean?” INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION may mean something to me where it may be something different to you, and that’s something that the managers when looking at these work rewards needs to get an understanding of what that means.

If you don’t know what that means, talk to your employee and say, “Hey, this showed up in your work rewards. What does that look like for you?” And then that educates the managers so they better know the person, and they know, how can we fill that need for them to where they are more happy in their work position?

Recognize the Trends

Josh Sweeney: Yeah, definitely, and I think the managers have to know each individual’s traits, their personality, what they need in order to grow in that position and into that organization. And we’re leaning further and further in that direction just with technology, the knowledge that we have. We’re seeing one-off tailored plans and tailored information to each individual or specific person or groups of people because at the end of the day, yes, there’s 17 different, unique work rewards, but when you look at businesses as a group of 10 people, 100 people, 1,000 people, there’s only 17, so you get trends. You’re able to come up with unique plans for each one of those groups and implement work rewards that identify with them.

Satisfying Multiple Rewards

Crystal Sweeney: And doing a deeper dive into those work rewards too, a lot of the things that you can implement in your company culture kind of satisfies multiple different work rewards. Having an educational platform setup in your business can help with work rewards like PERSONAL GROWTH. Could be INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION. Could be CAREER PROGRESSION. So you don’t have to implement 17 different things in your business to satisfy all of them because there are things you can do that cover multiple of them.

Josh Sweeney: Yeah, and you’re probably already doing things that focus on different ones, but now it just has to be measured and make sure that you’re scoring high on those work rewards for employee retention purposes.

Crystal Sweeney: Which is where those surveys come in.

Take a LOOK

Josh Sweeney: Definitely. Awesome. If you need to look at your work rewards a little deeper, you want to understand how to reward and incentivize people based on their behavior, take a look at our website, look at the work rewards or look at the personality assessments and other information that you have on hand to really dive down into each one of your individual employees or colleagues.

Thank you.


Speaker 1: Thank you for tuning in to today’s episode of the Epic Company Culture podcast with Josh Sweeney. If you enjoyed this content, please subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.

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