COMP NEWS – A survey of UK employees indicates that an overwhelming amount of workers tie work performance to incentives and rewards.

UK employees remain positive despite a looming recession and increased cost of living. This is the main finding from research conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Lattice. The survey asked 1,000 UK employees several questions about what is happening within their organisation, how optimistic they are about the future and their performance. Positive employees are more likely to engage in discretionary effort, and the research findings are good news for employers.

However, caution is advised as the economic outlook can change quickly, and the wrong decisions by firms can lead employees to become disillusioned. With the Bank of England raising interest rates again this week, some home-owning employees’ pockets will be hit as mortgages rise. It was, therefore, interesting to note that 79% of respondents saw incentives on performance have a positive impact. Lattice did not dive into the question of what incentives, but pay will likely become more important as inflation bites, despite the recent trend towards flexibility and wellbeing initiatives having higher prominence.

The survey uncovered a wide-ranging uptick in employee positivity and focus, though dark clouds still loom in the minds of some respondents.

There was potentially positive news, though, to justify the optimism. 25% of respondents have seen an increased focus on performance and productivity. 17% have seen an adjustment to business growth goals. The research does not indicate whether these are up or down. However, if they have increased, that could mean the business is looking to expand. If down, it shows an understanding of tougher conditions and potentially less employee stress as they might have struggled to achieve the impossible.

Lattice did analyse the data deeply and found that layoffs and budget cuts contribute to a concerned outlook about the company. 32% of those facing cuts were not optimistic, compared to the average of 17% for all respondents.

One of the most staggering findings from the survey shows that only 2% of respondents disagreed with the notion that work incentives increase job performance.

The key outtake from this small but intriguing survey is that incentives work. While this research does not dive into what incentives will increase productivity and performance, other research has. While bonuses and financial incentives can increase productivity, they are not the only incentives organisations should consider. Not every incentive is expensive, either. Organisations should consider recognition, engagement, and transparency as three ways to unlock discretionary effort. Training and career path advice and opportunities can also help.

Only 2% of respondents strongly disagreed that incentives increased performance. One is left with the question, why? Were these people close to retirement, leaving the company already or what? The downside to a quantitative survey is that the real answers are unavailable. What it does do is highlight that companies can take action, and solutions such as Lattice can help provide the answers. More research is needed within each organisation to find out what, though. Perhaps employee engagement software is the first step?

To read more about how incentives boost productivity, click here.

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Comp News is brought to you by CompXL, the flexible compensation software provider that enables mid- to large-size organizations to implement competitive pay structures such as vested stock options and variable incentive pay.