Numerous case studies have been documented on company suggestion programs that backfire when there are monetary rewards tied to the suggestions.
In one study, an employee was physically assaulted by members of his work group for submitting a group idea as his own idea. In response to the melee that resulted in the employee going to the emergency room, the President of the business ended the monetary rewards to prevent further problems and the suggestions dried up.
When the monetary rewards were removed, employees believed the company was shortchanging them by asking for ideas without offering compensation.
In essence, the monetary rewards offered by the company for suggestions caused employees to believe that offering ideas to improve the business was outside their normal job requirements, otherwise why would the company have originally offered to pay for the ideas?
HR POINTER: Management needs to let employees know that proposals to increase revenue, suggestions to decrease costs, and ideas to improve quality are normal parts of an employee’s job responsibilities – not something extra.
If the annual performance evaluation process was done correctly, there would be a component of the evaluation that encouraged and assessed employee ideas.
If a company is using financial incentives to stimulate employee behaviors without first having engaged the employees on a personal and social level, then the business will get exactly what it pays for – employees who perform activities only for the money, rather than the advancement of the social good that the organization provides to its customers.