Managing Engagement

In a world where everyone has a virtual avatar and cars can drive themselves, it’s easy to forget that humans are—at their core—pretty basic. Managing engagement in a group setting, be it a prehistoric tribe or a team of law firm employees, boils down to simple principles. After safety, our most elemental needs are community, and kinship. We want to be embraced, and in the pursuit of this desire, we’ve developed things like rewards practices. Reward an employee and you communicate that they are safe and seen at your firm. Make a policy of this, and you’ll quickly discover just how powerful (and productive) this elemental drive can be.


Maximize Employee Engagement: Make Productivity Instinctual

Researchers at Cornell University have shown that employee incentive programs increase intrinsic motivation by forging a link between a task and a goal. Firms that leverage this strategy see a 79% success rate in achieving their objectives. Moreover, incentive programs boost employee satisfaction: 66% of employees will stick with a company that makes a policy of rewarding productivity. Those are eye-catching numbers. Here’s how you achieve them:


 5 Employee Incentive Programs You Needed Yesterday

1. Points-Based Recognition

Remember that collection of red, blue, and gold stars you were so proud of as a kid? Well, your kindergarten teacher was onto something. People like collecting points, be them shiny stickers, loyalty credits, or tokens that can be exchanged for merchandise, prepaid cards, or experiences.

2. Social Recognition

Don’t be fooled. Money matters, but it’s not all that matters. Employee engagement won’t soar if all you offer is a nominal “employee of the month” badge, and yet social recognition goes a long way. Make a policy of writing personal notes, offer public praise to those who seek it, institute an inclusive (and professional) “secret admirer” program. Social recognition programs need not be fancy or costly, but they need to be sincere.

3. Referral Rewards

Employee referrals have a huge ripple effect. A large majority (82%) of employers report that referral hires yield the highest ROI. Your team will appreciate the opportunity to work with familiar faces and have some influence on the shape of your organization. Lastly, referrals are great marketing. There’s no better way to build your reputation than to have your own team singing your praises. Reward employees for successful referrals just as you would any other activity: by shelling out points, writing a note of gratitude, or however else you see fit.

4. Profit Sharing

The concept of profit sharing needs no introduction. It has long been a top strategy for managing engagement and for good reason. When your team feels like they have some ownership over operations, they are that much more motivated to give their best.

5. Wellness Incentives

Nobody is at their best when they’re neglecting basic wellness, and yet all too often doing so is seen as par for the course…especially in the legal industry. Make your firm the exception by providing incentives linked to, say, cycling to work, hitting a step-count goal, quitting smoking, or otherwise pursuing healthy goals.


Employee incentive programs tap into a deep human need and, in turn, offer deep potential for growth. To learn more about maximizing employee engagement and getting the most out of your team, do not hesitate to schedule an introductory call with me, Molly McGrath, the founder of Hiring & Empowering Solutions!

employee playbook


Everything you need to turn around your people, processes, productivity and profitability is right here in this free e-Book.


Feel like your people—and their productivity—are a mess? Don’t worry, this book has your back! Download this book for free and follow our advice about how to empower your employees to step up and lead!

You have Successfully Subscribed!