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  • #964399
    Adam L
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    Hi,

    I own and operate a plumbing business with 10 employees (3 qualified, 4 apprentices, 2 part time admin staff and myself). I am toying around with the idea of introducing a staff incentive scheme to my qualified tradesman. I hope to achieve-

    – Qualified staff to become more accountable for themselves and their apprentice.
    -Reduce call backs
    – Reward quality workmanship
    – Give apprentices something to strive for.

    If anyone has any suggestions or ideas i would love to hear them.

    Thanks,

    Adam

    #1005438
    TSH-SR
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    Hi Adam,
    This is a tough call from my experience. (I no longer have employees or subbies, choosing to do the lot myself. My business is Insect screens, Security doors etc)

    Assuming you pay award or above wages, provide vehicles and any special tools the options you have that will result in a positive response can be difficult to identify.
    Sometimes the little spontaneous (or quick response) incentive for a particular job might be worthwhile. You do need to find a good way to keep track of this idea though.

    One issue I have seen and see often that does not really work is the yearly bonus, better to be weekly, monthly or 2 monthly, same as training children or a dog the reward has to be for something an employee can remember.

    Setting achievable goals for performance (time to respond, no call back, able to fix the job in one visit etc), appearance/customer relations or work quality, for instance, is critically important.
    These need to not be just your idea of achievable, but an employees view. I have 1 friend who made the levels easy to reach initially and then slowly increased them to the level he had initially wanted to set over a couple of years.

    As to the incentive – this might sound hard but will work better if you can achieve it. Look at each individual employee, develop an empathy for that employee and then decide. Maybe ask them for an incentive.

    What is a good incentive for one employee means nothing to another.

    My case is classic – I don’t drink grog (very strange for a tradesman I know) when I was working in area management for a multi national the standard reward from all suppliers was bottles of top shelf booze (15 years later some bottles remain, luckily my wife and friends enjoy a good drop), only one rep ever took the time to look for another gift that meant something to me, consequently he had access to significantly more of my time, my forcasts, my input to his sales targets etc etc.

    Would some of your guys respond to-
    subscription to bike/boat magazines?,
    tools that may be handy for their renovation at home that are not plumbing tools?
    an open order at the paint/hardware store?
    a repair/accesory to their personal car
    These are things that they could pay for with a cash reward, but everytime they grab that tool or whatever at home they may think, this is the tool the boss bought me.

    If you are looking for a bigger reward for the Tradesmaen – the best idea I have seen is to give them a small share in the business. Work out a % that you are prepared to let go (if they want t participate) say 25% total, allocate it in various size %, keeping some spare for some of the Apprentices as they come through. This way they share in the good times, have an idea that the waste they create is profit they do not get, but also share in the harder times.

    This might give you some ideas, hope you can work something out that suits you and your team. I am happy to discuss some of these further if you wish.

    Regards Tony

    #1005439
    Burgo
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    Hi Adam, I like what you want to do for your employees.
    Possibly a monthly, three monthly or six monthly, bonus incentive $ %. Employee of the month award eg Dinner for two at a quality resturant incl wine.

    Wouldnt go for a share in the business, as you could end up working for them. though Tony does make some great points.

    Initially keep it simple, explain what you intend to introduce , get feedback from them. Instead of $ % maybe a holiday for a week at a beaut resort, which would be tax free for them rather than a $ % which would be taxable.

    What can you give them as a reward without it costing them tax but by the same time helping your tax situation.

    I sure the others on the forum would like to give imput on this
    Good luck

    #1005440
    Dardee
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    Since you have identified what you want to achieve by implementing the incentive scheme you now need to figure out how you can measure performance against those criteria. You may find that you will have more than 1 scheme. ie one for the appretices and one for the more experienced workers.

    The best incentive schemes are those are seen to be fair and equitable by those that it affects. You never please everyone but as long as the general feeling is positive you should be able to motivate most of the guys with a good scheme.

    EDIT: One more thing. Discussing what you want to do and getting feedback from your employees will go a long way.

    If you need some more help don’t be afraid to ask.

    #1005441
    BrightSpark
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    If you have decided to provide incentive then I think you should be talking to your staff and asking them what they want. Not just the trades people abut all of your staff. Some might want time off instead, while the restaurant would appeal to others, whereas some others may want dollars. Taking all this into account you must devise a means whereby the improvement in work quality, improved cashflow, reduced sick days, increased workload is converted into value for your staff.

    #1005442
    Heidi Price
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    BrightSpark, post: 4673 wrote:
    I think you should be talking to your staff and asking them what they want.

    Very true BrightSpark – the only way an incentive scheme can work is if the recipients value the reward.

    Ones that I have heard of that work involved the business owner sitting down one-on-one with their people and finding out wht each individual would like to receive.

    This could be further training, adjustment of work hours (for the same or increased results), being able to attend children’s school/sport events, hobby-based courses, etc……………..

    It really is as individual as the person!

    The motivating factor is not always money!!

    Heidi

    #1005443
    MissieK
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    I agree with BrightSpark – talk to your employees about what motivates them. This will also help them own the program.

    When I was working for someone else, all I wanted was recognition for what I was doing. The employer just saw money & when I tried to talk & say I wasn’t happy, he just responded with my payrise that I’d had 6 months earlier! And when they did regognise me, it was giving me a bottle of champagne – that I don’t drink!

    Talking to your employees will also help them feel you are listening to them and finding out what they would like so you can give them incentives that motivate them.

    Melissa

    #1005444
    jaenydy
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    That will be good idea.

    Talk toi your employees, tell them that you are looking forward to have a scheme that will help them boost and pbe more professional enough in their jobs.. its also good if you ask them what sort of scheme is better in your industry..the more you ask their opinion..they will love working with you..as they will know you are listening to them…thats base on my experience, and your employees will love you whether you will terminate them in the future or not.

    jaeny dy
    http://www.ohmi.com.au/

    #1005445
    kaminiman
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    you now need to figure out how you can measure performance against those criteria. You may find that you will have more than 1 scheme. ie one for the appretices and one for the more experienced workers.

    The best incentive schemes are those are seen to be fair and equitable by those that it affects. You never please everyone but as long as the general feeling is positive you should be able to motivate most of the guys with a good scheme.

    #1005446
    YourCoach
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    Hey guys,

    Great stuff about asking people what they perceive as a valuable reward! I also read something about framing it with clear measures for success. I think that’s essential: that people know exactly what’s expected from them and that the effort they make also feels like a form of progress to them. If you can achieve that, the bonus is just the symbol for the growth they’ve gone through making it!

    You could introduce a new skill or way of working that the person can learn. Another language, different kinds of customers, a new tool… People want the feeling they’re growing.

    Another thing is contribution. The stronger you can make your company culture, the better. There are a few ways to do this. One is to listen well to your people, another is to create a mission statement – that’s particularly important for smaller companies that are still growing! Having a direction and a mission in life will make people feel like they’re part of something important.

    I actually wrote an ebook about this, you can read about it on http://www.yourcoach.be/en/employee-motivation-ebook/

    #1005447
    Tracey Anne
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    Adam L, post: 4427 wrote:
    Hi,

    I am toying around with the idea of introducing a staff incentive scheme to my qualified tradesman

    Am I misunderstanding in that only 3 of your 10 staff will be eligible for this scheme? I would be worried that this might become a devisive thing. If I were one of the admin staff or apprentices, I would feel pretty excluded and might even think that my contributions to the business were not appreciated at all. Personally I would offer it to all or none.

    That aside, I have a friend working for a mid-size business. The staff there were able to vote from a selection of offers. The almost unanimous choice was for accommodation at a nice hotel for a weekend away.

    #1005448
    jasonm
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    Hi Adam,

    Once apon a time (some 7ish years ago now) I worked for a company that had a bonus scheme that was referred to as ‘the 36 percent system’

    The basis of the system was the technicians would earn 36% of their chargeouts for service fee, travel, and labour. Any non-productive time means the techs were losing money. In the event the company could not provide sufficient work to the techs there was a guaranteed minimum weekly pay, which was also guaranteed if there was sufficient work and you didn’t make enough chargeouts but any shortfall against that guaranteed minumum would be carried forward to the next week.

    In the event of any callbacks the same technician attends to rectify and this is non-productive time thus a financial penalty for not doing the job properly the first time. If another technican attends then that technicians chargeout is charged back against the original tech so the new tech isn’t penalised for someone elses slack work.

    Anything done afterhours is charged at higher rates so techs got 36% of that higher rate.

    So thats the system about covered, here are the downfalls.

    You really need to make sure your guys aren’t overcharging for work, that means having someone that knows how long jobs should take and how much should be charged reviewing every invoice, so I expect that would mean you Adam and not one of your admin people. Having the customer sign against time of arrival / time of completion will help with this.

    Your staff need to understand that they cannot under any circumstance talk to the customers about how the system works because customers wont be happy, thats what stopped the system where I worked previously.

    Other than that it worked extremely well, we all worked our arses off and streamlined sourcing materials, didn’t waste time etc to make our targets.

    All the techs were very happy with the system and it was only that one of the companies major national customers found out about the system and threatened to can a major contract that it stopped.

    Make sure your guys understand that if they rort the system they will ruin it for everyone and it can work.

    Jason

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