Using the 4-Drive Model to Customize Incentives

The 4-Drive Model of Employee Motivation as we’ve discussed (here and here) provides a very robust theory that when applied, can help companies increase the motivation of their employees.  One of the key tenants of the Four Drive Theory is that each individual is motivated by all four drives (A: Acquire & Achieve, B: Bond & Belong, C: Challenge & Comprehend, and D: Define & Defend) but that each individual’s motivational profile will be different (i.e., one employee might be driven more by drives A & C compared to another employee who is more motivated by B & D or B & C).

The important thing to understand here is that everyone’s motivation is different!

Which can be a problem since most companies don’t customize their incentive plans down to the individual.  Often an organization’s customization comes down to offering a few additional spurts throughout the year.  So unless the company hires only people with a specific motivational profile, some employees will not be as motivated as they could be.

So companies need to provide multiple incentive opportunities that help motivate different motivational types

This does not mean that you need to have a hundred different incentive plans or programs…but I suggest that you can offer options or choices for  employees so that they can choose their individual award (I know some companies that are already doing this).

But what are those options you ask?  Here is where we tap into the power of the 4-Drive Model.  The 4-Drive’s provide us with some clear direction on how companies can customize their rewards to help really drive performance.  So here are some ideas for incentive rewards/programs that could be used to enhance each of the four drives:

Acquire & Achieve:  This drive is the one that is most often met with incentives as money, merchandise, plaques, trophies  and travel fall under it.  But what are some other, non-typical, options that companies could use to help satisfy the drive to acquire and achieve:

  • An Executive for a Day: award that gives a person opportunity to shadow an Executive for a day and some personal one-on-one time to gain insight and wisdom from them
  • Hot New Technology: reward winners with being the first in the company to get the hottest new tech device or product – let them show off and be more productive
  • Highlight in Social Media: recognize winners to the world through your company blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc… accounts

Bond & Belong: This drive focuses on the relationships that we have in our work.  The better the bonds within the organization, the greater the motivation to perform.

  • Party on Us Reward: provide an opportunity for a team to earn an off-site event (concert, sporting event, dinner, party) for that team
  • Team Lunch with the CEO: winning team gets to have lunch/dinner with the CE

Challenge & Comprehend: this drive is about our desire to overcome challenges and learn new things.  We can increase the motivational power of this drive by giving rewards that increase skills or provide learning opportunities for employees.

  • Learning Rewards: offer a learning stipend that can be used for conferences or other learning opportunities not usually offered to employees
  • Self-improvement Packages: give a reward that is used to help individual improve (yoga class, attend motivational seminars, personal coaching)

Define & Defend: this drive to defend those things that we are positively connected to from external attacks and threats.  Incentives would not really satisfy this drive, but they could build the connection between the individual and the company in order to strengthen the drive.  This is usually done by making sure the company is one that individuals can be proud of and one that they feel aligned with.

  • Giving Back Rewards: rewards that provide donations to a person’s favorite charity or organization – these types of rewards have been shown to have a much higher impact on motivation and organizational loyalty.
  • Social Media Involvement – have a social media component where individuals are asked to contribute to a blog, Linked-In Group, Twitter, Facebook.  By engaging them in the conversations around the company, you are enhancing their drive to Defend.

Now these rewards are not for everybody.  I know people who would be absolutely aghast if they had to follow an executive around for a day.  That is why these need to be options in your programs not just a single offering.

Additional Ideas:

A little while ago, Hinda Incentives wrote a blog about “Diversifying Your Incentive Plan” in which they identify 8 different incentives that can help companies motivate different employees.  Here is that list:

  1. Flexible hours and/or telecommuting
  2. Health and wellness programs
  3. Points programs
  4. Separate group and individual incentives
  5. PTO, paid holidays and relaxation
  6. Production-based bonuses
  7. Social and networking events
  8. Tuition reimbursement and learning opportunity

I love it.  Can you see how these line up with the 4-Drives?

How do you customize your incentive plans – let us know…leave a comment.

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