Incentives and Change

When asked if we want to be better stewards of our resources, most of us would respond with "Yes." But changing our behaviors to conserve those resources is another story-even if we know we should do it.

That's why this hotel sign caught my eye upon check in. For each night of a multi-night stay that you decline housekeeping for your room, you get a $5 voucher that can be used in the hotel. How about that? Being given an incentive to change behavior. Sounds almost obvious doesn't it?

I can't tell you how many organizations I have worked with that miss this point. They announce a change, tell why it will benefit the company and the employees in it when they are successful with the change, but fail to give any short-term incentives for people to change their attitudes or behaviors.

Most of us need a compelling reason to change, and we need quick gratification that taking this new action is the right way to go. This hotel's incentive would not work if you had to go online to claim your $5 voucher. They give it to you the minute you make a change in behavior-Fantastic!

If you're prodding others to change, what incentives have you put in place to encourage them to take steps in a new direction? As the sign says, "It feels good to conserve..." Especially when we are given a quick reward for making the change.