The whole concept of reward is to perpetuate behaviors that are desirable to the organization. This is the whole concept of motivation in all its numerous guises. The most recent version is Pink’s Motivation 2.0. Regardless of how you dress it up, behavior occurs because it is rewarded, whether it is some external reward or some internal reward. The bottomline is you get what you reward.
It really is a pretty easy concept to understand, yet I find managers having a difficult time applying it. Here is an example. A company I know of wants to get its sales reps to use the CRM (customer relationship management) software. Yet there has been some hesitancy to use it on the part of the reps. It is new, it is technology, there is a learning curve, and let’s face it there is no immediate reward for learning it or using it.
You have to ask yourself, what do most sales reps find rewarding? Money! Or sales, which then translates into money. So to get sales reps to use the CRM you want to make it associated with money, in this case using the CRM to feed them sales leads. Makes sense doesn’t it. But management does not get it. They do not want to go through the effort of loading leads into the CRM until the sales reps are using the CRM more.
Let me say that again in a different way. They want their sales reps to use the CRM. The CRM is the way the reps could get leads that would translate to sales which would translate to money, the thing that motivates sales reps to alter their behavior. But management does not want to put leads into the CRM until they are using it better. This is backward thinking. Rather than reward the reps for engaging in the desired behavior they want the reps to engage in the behavior on their own. A cart before the horse scenario in my mind.
To their credit, some reps have discovered that the CRM does help in their job and that internalized reward keeps them using it, but many others don’t understand the value and will not recognize it until management understands their mistake.