When it comes to ideation or crowdsourcing communities, most will argue that a good rewards program can help stir the pot and provoke not only better engagement, but better content. It gets people excited about the work being done and makes them eager to return even after their initial contribution. One IdeaScale community offered a $1,000 bonus for the top three ideas and that community reported 90% engagement. You can learn more about that particular innovation program here.
But sometimes rewards programs can be hard to manage or aren’t something that a company can afford to incentivize with several $1,000 bonuses. One of the ways to cope with this particular challenge is to design a non-traditional incentives program. This can mean amending what sort of behaviors you’re rewarding, but it can also mean looking at some more unique (and oftentimes – more interesting) rewards. It turns out that there are a lot of ways to get people excited to be involved and not all of them cost money: what if the boss did your chores for a day? What if you got to name the next version of the product? What if someone got a tattoo with your initials in honor of all you do?
Okay – maybe the tattoo’s a bit much, but IdeaScale scoured its communities and the internet in search of offbeat and engaging rewards and came up with list of more than 50+ that might be appropriate in the office, in government, in universities, and beyond.
But while you think about what reward system might work for you, think about this, as well:
- There’s value to recognition all by itself. 69% of employees say that they would work harder if they were better recognized. This doesn’t even mean tangible awards of any sort, but simply an acknowledgment of the value of contributions. And this goes for the innovation process, as well. Employees that are recognized will work harder and generate better work.
- There are a number of behaviors to incentivize: ideas contributed, random participation, those who help keep the community organized, time spent on a project. What makes the most sense for your community?
- Sometimes participation itself is the reward. In cases like that, people are just glad to be part of a growing community. Maybe it’s being part of an inner circle or access to an exclusive. This is more often true in celebrity or fan-based engagement. But even in the office, the CEO or founders have their own sort of celebrity cache.
If you’re interested in learning more about what IdeaScale has discovered in the field of incentives research (beyond just our list of rewards suggestions), watch our webinar video recording on the subject here.
What sorts of incentives most motivate you? What companies have introduced the best ideation contests?
image credit: betterwritinghabits.com
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Jessica Day is a marketing and technology writer and editor for IdeaScale. She received her Masters in Writing from the University of Washington. Day also blogs about crowd-based innovation and idea management solutions at blog.ideascale.com.