JULY 1990

If your company's incentive program isn't producing results, the problem might be simpler than you think. You may be offering the wrong rewards, rewards that simply fail to motivate your employees.

Phil Roberts, president of Premier Ventures Inc., found that his 30-day employee-motivation contest was effective with employees only for the first week. "After that, they just ignored it," he says.

Finally, a disgruntled Roberts -- whose company runs six Denver restaurants -- asked employees what he could do to motivate them. The answers surprised him. Few, he found, were motivated by cash, and rarely were all employees interested in the same booty.

Now, Roberts constantly monitors employees' desires and offers a changing menu of prizes from which his employees can choose. It gets complicated, he admits, "but it's also kept us ahead of the competition."