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No unexpected bonus can be termed an incentive, unless one believes in random reinforcement. You can't influence behavior effectively with secret reward programs.

Back in The Day, Maritz had an excellent ABC formula for their prize-based non-cash incentive plans: Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence. If there is no antecedent (announced description of desired results), the consequence is seen as a suprise gift rather than an earned reward whose receipt reinforces the desired dynamic to similarly adapt behavior to meet the next antecedent objective for more positive consequences. The experimental basis of the logic stretches back to Pavlov and continues today.

Despite what you merely say, behaviors that are reinforced with positive consequences tend to be repeated.

Ann –

Hmm…, a 5:00am post first day of vacation?

Hope you kick back, relax, and have a great vacation. We’ll all still be here when you return.

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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