When I talk in my courses about rewards, I always like to recall a support request I received from a Spanish customer. This software company was facing considerable problems regarding the size of the user stories. After some consultancy with the teams affected, what came out was shocking: in order to increase the performance of the Scrum teams, the company’s management had attached a bonus to each sprint goal.
The effect on the teams was terrible, as the Scrum teams focused on getting the reward, and not on meeting the sprint goal! Because of this bonus system, at sprint planning only small, cristal-clear user stories with detailed requirements were accepted by the Scrum teams…
Jürgen Appelo defined 6 excellent rules for rewards, and, even if I take stock in all of them, especially the last one, Reward peers, not subordinates, gives a very different perspective to this subject.
More information about Rewards : https://management30.com/modules/rewards-incentives/
I list the 6 rewards rules in 6 post-its:
1. Do not promise rewards in advance.
2. Keep the early rewards small.
3. Reward continuously, not just once.
4. Reward publicly, not privately.
5. Reward the behaviors, not just the results.
6. Reward your peers, not just your subordinates.
Then, I allow the participants to position themselves in each of the 6 rules, indicating if they have made that reward by writing a publication with each practical example of the reward.
I ask what has been the impact of this reward.
Later, with another post-it color, I ask for the "anti-reward" of that reward that has actually been made.
1.- Do not promise rewards in advance.
Anti-reward: I have promised a reward in advance on a project if it ends on the date of amount Z.
A small debate is generated about the implications, conclusions, learning and impact of this situation.
The learning is based on the grouping of the rules with the participants, the disparity of cases, there are cases in which the way of granting the rewards (without being the 6 rules) has worked for them and, as they are learned, they take new Rewards possibilities. experience and contemplate a future, an improvement or evolution.
There are other cases in which they realize that they have not worked as expected, which opens the search range of why it has not worked.
Finally, in other cases, they see the 6 rules of rewards as a new way of applying and experimenting to see their influence and impact.
It can go well:
I always try to "challenge" the minds finally with the learning obtained from the dynamics, enumerate at least one action in one of the rules that they can commit to perform or experience, for months after trying to redo the dynamics with them focusing on learning the practice or receive comments at least on how your experiment went with the practice. The feedbak is usually very positive, but there are some cases in which it does not work as expected initially due to lack of sponsorship, commitment, execution time, and in that case "that same" is the learning that allows a new conversation in Your company to improve.
It can go wrong:
If the people involved do not have sponsorship or empowerment in the organization, we must limit the expectations to help in the upper part to identify future improvement actions, without raising hopes.
These people are not drivers of incentives or rewards and may fall into resignation or take advantage of the dynamics.
My personal advice for any company that seeks to obtain the best of its skilled workers is to avoid monetary rewards by integrating the annual bonus into the regular salary. After that, make sure your employees' salary matches their market value, so that money is no longer a problem.
It is very important to manage the initial expectations of the dynamics so as not to have problems, and above all to show these expectations to everyone.