April 2010 Web Extra: Bring on bonuses

Learn how companies are using non-cash rewards to keep employees happy. From our April '10 <i>Lawn & Landscape</i> article "Controlled cuts."

April 6, 2010

Some employers offer extra time off or flexible work hours. Other provide opportunities for employees to attend training sessions to improve their skills. And some still give bonuses as motivation.

“Our hourly employees and team leaders have a bonus situation on a yearly basis that derives what their compensation will be for the next year,” says Tom Curdes, owner of two companies, Barron's Lawn Service and Weed Man, both in Toledo, Ohio. “We lay a bonus out in front of them and they have deliverables they have to meet to get that bonus. The deliverables are reviewed on a monthly basis; what percentage of a bonus they get drives their compensation for the next year.”
Maurice Dowell of Dowco Enterprises says his company does not offer a bonus structure for hourly production employees, but the management team has one.

“In general, we are recommending that all employers evaluate their recognition programs, career development programs, training opportunities and incentive pay strategies,” Jean Seawright  of Seawright & Associates says. “Companies that design and implement effective programs of this nature can maintain a competitive edge in the upcoming year as the economy begins to improve.”

Jack Mattingly of Mattingly Consulting says even in a tough economy he’s a firm believer in incentive programs. “It’s relatively easy to set up an incentive program for all salaried employees,” he says. “The employee who supports and manages your labor can have an opportunity to receive a bonus if the company reaches certain predetermined goals. If set up properly, and it must be, it becomes a win-win for all.”

To work, Mattingly says such programs must be quantitative and measureable. “And you have to be sure to share that information with the employee throughout the year – so they know they’re on track or that they need to hunker down if they want their bonus,” he says.