Group Incentives

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Sometimes managers need to decide what kind of remuneration they have to use in order to motivate their subordinates to work harder, smarter or faster. As in my case I'm willing to work faster or harder if I know there is something I can gain with my behaviour and these thoughts almost everyone has. As their decision should be wise and fact based they need to know how the incentives they will use influence the motivation of the employees and when to use them. Mangers can decide whether to use individual or group incentives. If the individual incentive plans can't be implemented the group incentive plans take their place and vice versa. In this paper I would like to focus on group incentives and try to explain how the group incentives can influence employee motivation and I hope I would come to some conclusion in the end.

What are the group incentives?

At first we have to define what the group incentives are to better understand their influence on motivation. Group incentives are incentives paid to group of employees. But now there can arise a question why should be groups and not individuals rewarded. There can be more than one answer but all of them are really easy to get. The basic idea is that not all the employees can be remunerated following the individual incentive plans. If this situation occurs group incentives plans are implemented instead. Group incentives are used when it is difficult to measure each individual employee output, and/or when team work is important. Nevertheless sometimes output is measurable but impractical or too costly to measure. Simply the performance of unit consisting of more employees or the whole company matters and is the reason of pay increase or bonuses. Nowadays there are many group plans used in the real practise but generally their basements are almost the same in all types of these plans. Most of the group plans are based on a monetary performance standard, such as the sharing of profits, the production value added, the value of sales, or the cost savings made, rather than on a quantity production performance standard as is typical of individual incentives. There are various types of group incentives and so the influence on employee motivation can vary over them. It would be wiser to look at these plans separately, one by one, how they influence employee motivation.

Types of group incentives

There many types of group incentive plans used around the world. I would focus only on the most often used among the managers. To the common group incentives plans belong: gainsharing, profit sharing and stock options. Despite the fact that all of these plans fall in the same category of incentive plans they differ in many ways nevertheless one characteristic they have in common. All of them are pay-for-performance plans and are not changing or influencing the base pay but the variable pay. What does it mean pay-for-performance? These plans are paying increases in variable pay or bonuses depending on improved employee performance. In the next part I would like to look at the influence on employee motivation of these group incentive plans separately.


Gainsharing is a group incentive plan and as the name suggests, employees share in the gains in these types of group incentive plans. The employees share the saved costs, e. g. of labour, improved production, of reduced spoilage and scrap or savings on expenses such as materials and equipment. However, the definition is usually made up of three components: The philosophy of cooperation, the involvement system and the financial bonus. Gainsharing is a group incentive plan and because of this the cooperation of employees is crucial as well as the communication between superiors and their subordinates. The second component is vital to have if implementing the gainsharing should be successful. The employees suggest new improvements and so they are involved in the gainsharing system. The last...
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