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If you are looking to increase your staff’s productivity, then a well-designed bonus scheme and incentives structure is your way to achieving this. This can increase your staff’s productivity as well as your overall business profits.

The first thing you need to think about is why you want to introduce a bonus scheme. For this article, we will discuss what bonus schemes for non-sales staff are effective and how to design and implement them.

Option 1: Management Level

This is looking at which level or levels you want to operate your bonus scheme, such as:

  • Per individual staff member bonus scheme
  • As a collective team bonus scheme
  • Per site (relevant to larger companies/corporations who operate from more than one site) bonus scheme
  • Company/Corporate-wide scheme

Looking at a bonus scheme on any number of these levels within this option could, in theory, be achievable. However, the underpinned factor would be the cost of rolling out the bonus scheme. The more people the scheme applies to, the greater the costs involved could be. So, working out the financial implication versus the potential profits and an increase in staff productivity would need to be assessed to get the balance and desired outcome correct.

Option 2: Single Elements or Multi-Factored

When choosing the option to focus on a single element you can then put your key emphasis on targets and objectives. So, a key target could be looking at overall profits or productivity and then focus on that single element. This can work best for short-term interest. They can also work well for boosting team members or team productivity for the intention of increasing profits for that quarter.

A multifactored bonus scheme looks at a broad range of elements and can include targets more directed at a corporate level, where it is in combination with aiming at smaller teams or departments.

Many aspects can form the foundation for a single element or multi-factored bonus scheme:

Cost management

This works well for companies, for example within the financial services sector where they base their bonus scheme on the collection of the company’s bad debts. So, if the staff member or team collect on the bad debts, they receive a percentage based on what they have collected as an incentive.


This is probably one of the most popular bonus schemes. These schemes, based on performance and profit, can help with net growth or can be based on profits. The higher the profits and/or performance, the greater the rewards for the staff member and teams. This can also be rolled out company or corporate-wide. Here is our blog on using performance management to drive desired behaviours which will give more information and guidance around staffing and their performance.

Attendance of staff

This is a good element to form the basis of a multi-factored bonus scheme and help with HR matters if particular people or teams are found to be having attendance issues. It can be used to reward team members for perfect attendance which can be monthly or quarterly. This is also a good element to use in multi-factored schemes where you are rewarding a team for increased productivity or profit, but a single member of that team has been absent for a lot of that timeframe. They would, therefore, not receive the bonus or reward due to them not being in attendance to help with the team's targets. This can also work inline with HR associated targets.

The overall productivity of staff and teams

This option is usually found to be useful in manufacturing or piecework companies. However, it is not limited to these industries and has been seen to have been used in other industries such as accountancy and financial sectors. For example, a measure could be, from the time the team member receives the job or task to completing it. Nevertheless, be mindful that good productivity must also keep in line with good customer service and quality mustn't be sacrificed. This could be another level added to using the multi-factor bonus scheme. Productivity with good customer service is rewarded which, in turn, can increase profit margins and overall bottom-line profits.

Projects (targets to finish a project early or on time)

This is a good option for helping to tailor particular projects to the company’s objectives within a certain period or goal. This could be by providing a reward for completing a project to a deadline, a requirement or budget.

Option 3: Problem-Solving

For businesses who need to expand their reach or are facing a difficult patch, incentivising or encouraging staff with rewards for solving a problem or goal can be a useful tool. They will feel part of the solution and also be rewarded for helping your business.

An example could be a staff member has managed to secure a local radio interview for your company. This would give excellent reach for your company and shows the staff member has gone above and beyond to help out the company. They would then be rewarded with a cash bonus or gift card as a way of saying thank you.

Option 4:  Efficiency

This can be achieved by asking staff and teams to look to improve their systems and product or service delivery. Bonus schemes that target this area encourage staff and teams to look more deeply at their approach to their workload and will help give them a better understanding of deadlines, especially for projects or companies who are service facing.

This will help profit margins and project delivery times where overall profits could be improved. So, rewarding staff members and teams could be a good way of achieving those bottom-line goals. This is another good example of a multi-level bonus scheme. With this scheme focusing on the staff or teams being mindful of efficiency, you could also add in attendance for a more dynamic approach.

Option 5: Obstacles

By looking at obstacles that companies need to overcome first will allow you to then make payments to individuals or teams through the bonus scheme. Some examples include:

  • Having a minimum target to reach; if the minimum target is not met then there would be no pay-out or reward on the bonus scheme.
  • Profit ceiling level; this is directed towards profit associated bonus schemes. The profit ceiling limit must be reached to trigger a pay-out of the reward bonus scheme.
  • Management or manager decision; This method of choice allows for a manager, or management, to make decisions of whether to allow a pay-out or reward on a bonus scheme. This could be implemented if there has been a serious safety incident. This could also be used if using a multi-factor approach and, if one of the objectives or elements of that bonus scheme has not been met, then management could reserve the rights to not pay-out or reward.

For more information please get in contact or you can view more on reward strategy and design along with other bonus schemes and incentives here.

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