Feature Article - January/February 2019

The Impact of Incentives on Organizational Change

Rewards & Recognition Help Smooth Transitions

By Brian Summerfield


The keys to successful organizational change initiatives include making sure that employees are communicated to in an open way, understanding the need to change and educating them about the ways change will affect the business and their job specifically.

"When you're designing your recognition strategy to align to an organizational strategy, you have to focus on identifying the behaviors that advance the organization's goals and values, and then design ways to promote those behaviors through intentional, purpose-based recognition. It's really the same concept of an incentive program. We identify what it is we want to reinforce in our organization, either through behavior or performance, and we then identify the best solution to do that. In a best-practice structure, it's about recognizing strategy and goals, and aligning recognition to those things so that it becomes a reinforcement for the things that matter to an organization."

Additionally, planning out messaging around both the program itself and the change itself is critical, said Ira Ozer, president of Engagement Partners.

"The keys to successful organizational change initiatives include making sure that employees are communicated to in an open way, understanding the need to change and educating them about the ways change will affect the business and their job specifically," he said. "As part of this process, it is important to let them know that the organization cares about them, treats them with empathy and recognizes their accomplishments and positive behaviors on a continuous basis. It is important to be transparent, communicating and training throughout the change management process, with rewards and recognition as icing on the cake."