I spent 45 minutes on the phone the other day trying to find out why a new customer gets a $99-a-month deal for Internet, cable TV, and phone, but a seven-year customer like myself is expected to pay $166 for the same services in exchange for my loyalty. No deal for me, the customer rep told me (somewhat gleefully, I thought). Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Finally, I gave up. I switched providers, saving myself $50 a month for the next two years.
I admit cash is a motivator for me—it influences my purchasing decisions and my workplace performance. I never say no to more money. But it’s not my only motivator. Flex-time and working from home are two powerful incentives I’ve come to adore in the last year (see "A Minute to Win It" to find out how to make flex-time work in your organization). And, certainly, money does not necessarily negate a micromanaging boss, a bureaucratic corporate culture, or a toxic work environment. (We delve more deeply into the factors that go into creating an engaging work environment and who’s responsible for doing so in our “Employee Work Passion” survey results feature.)
Likewise, cash may be a motivator to complete training, but it’s no guarantee to change a learner’s behavior. Most folks are more than happy to receive a Nike, Omaha Steaks, or Home Depot gift card in exchange for sailing through a few online training modules. Then they just keep on doing what they were doing before.
So if cash isn’t enough to change behavior or guarantee engagement, what does the trick? The answer, in most cases, is that it depends on the individual employee. So that usually means asking employees what it would take to motivate them. But while engagement surveys can be effective tools for gauging employee engagement, many organizations make the mistake of jumping into them too quickly, without doing any prep work, cautions Elaine Varelas, managing partner, Camden Consulting Group. “They also try to measure too much or the wrong things.” Varelas says the first question HR managers should ask is, “What are we measuring?” The second question should be, “How do we measure for it?”
Speaking of measuring, Training would like to wish Don Kirkpatrick, father of the 4 Levels of Evaluation, all the best as he hangs up his presenter hat and settles into retirement after more than 50 years in the training industry. Don, thanks for the memories—and the measurements! If you’d like one of Don’s famous transparencies as a keepsake (he’ll even autograph it for you), please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking ahead, I hope to see you at our Learning 3.0 Conference October 4-5 in Chicago. Visit www.trainingmagevents.com for more details.