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How to target your Operations functions for incentives

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​I’ve discussed many times how far-reaching the scope is for Operations professionals in the recruitment sector. From HR to Finance, Data, Systems and IT, Marketing to Compliance, and sometimes just keeping the fridge stocked, there’s nothing that an Ops professional cannot turn their hand to.

And let's be honest, the recruitment sector brings a unique set of challenges in itself.

One of the things that I love about working in recruitment is being in a sales-based environment. Being target-driven and motivated to continuously find measurable ways to impact your business is a recipe for Operational Success!

But a question I am commonly asked by recruitment business owners is how do you target your operations function?

Lots of us are lucky enough to work for businesses where their non-sales professionals are included in incentives (Crete, here I come…) as well as bonus schemes and general rewards for smashing it. But how to put something into place that allows you to measure success?

Why incentivise support staff?

Well, put simply, in any business where incentives are heavily leaned on for sales success, leaving supporting staff on the sidelines is likely to lead to de-motivated employees, and a touch of resentment between teams. If the work that your Operational staff are doing is contributing to the success of your fee-earners, it makes sense to give them some of the reward.

With employee disengagement at its highest levels since 2015, with 18% of the workforce actively disengaged and a further 50% not actively engaged, keeping your staff happy is harder but more important than ever. Disengaged staff cost employers between 18% and 34% of their salary.

On the flip side, it's been proven that employees who find a passion and a purpose at work are 3 times more likely to stick around than those who don't. On top of the savings you could make through lowering your turnover (by up to 18%), the more engaged your staff, the more profitable will be - as highly engaged employees result in a 23% increase in profitability.

So how should you do it?

I’ve been speaking to my Ops in Recruitment WhatsApp group and gathering a variety of different models used across the sector, which I’ve detailed below.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, then get in touch and let me know!

Individual project-based objectives per quarter

  • 100% for 6 months of objectives achieved = half-year incentive trip

  • 90% of objectives hit across the team for a quarter = quarterly team budget

‘Give Thanks’ or Recognition Based

  • Coworkers can ‘give thanks’ to other people in the business.

  • Set a target level as a team for a prize/incentive.

NPS Scores

  • Various non-sales functions can have a huge impact on NPS scores (Marketing campaigns, contractor care, compliance, office support etc.)

  • Set targets for a % increase and get non-sales teams to work together on what they help contribute to.

Innovation forum

  • Each team member presents an idea that could impact sales, reduce costs, improve efficiencies, etc.

  • Best idea gets a space on the annual incentive trip and the chance to implement their idea.

Cost Savings

  • A bonus paid as a % of annual cost savings over the year on any operational spend budgets.

  • Tiered rewards based on debtor days down

In a sector where incentives drive so much of the activity and camaraderie, involving non-sales staff in your schemes will help them to see that they are valued, viewed as an integral part of the team, and given the opportunity to shine. Not only will you end up with happy, motivated employees, but you'll also drive increased loyalty and productivity.