Mastering Rewards Programs: Strategy, Roles, and Behaviours

Keeping recruitment consultants motivated can be challenging, but a well-designed rewards programme drives the desired behaviours to achieve business success. 

However, creating an effective rewards programme is not as simple as offering bonuses or commissions. To achieve the best outcomes, you need to consider your overall business strategy, the roles and responsibilities of your consultants, the desired behaviours you want to incentivise, and the most effective types of rewards to offer. 

In this post that builds on our Recruitment Commission Handbook, we'll explore these considerations and provide tips for designing a rewards programme that aligns with your business goals and motivates your consultants to achieve their full potential.

Align your rewards with your business strategy

When creating or reviewing a rewards programme for your recruitment company, your first step should be to consider your overall business strategy. Alignment between your rewards and your business goals is the foundation of a great incentive scheme. (If your business strategy requires review or updating, do this first. Your rewards programme must align with whichever strategy you’re operating at the time.)

Strategies can change over time. When they do, it's essential to ensure that your rewards programme fits the new direction. Your business strategy will also determine the other foundational elements of incentives, such as:

  • The roles of your consultants you’re incentivising

  • Their responsibilities in each role

  • The behaviours that lead to success in each role

These elements combine to help create a cohesive and effective rewards programme that motivates your consultants and aligns with your business goals.

By starting with your business strategy, you build your rewards programme on firm ground. It also lets you see the bigger picture of how your rewards programme can contribute to your overall business success.

Define roles, responsibilities and behaviours

Determining the roles involved, their responsibilities and the desired behaviours for each is a crucial step in creating an effective rewards programme for your recruitment company. While this may sound obvious, it's surprising how many recruiters get this wrong. To get your rewards right, you first need to know what behaviours you want to incentivise, which often vary by role. That's why the best incentives are role-specific.

Developing role-driven incentives means considering each distinct role in your business in isolation to ensure you drive the right behaviours in the right way. For example, a delivery consultant's desired behaviours might differ from those of a resourcer or an account manager. Each role requires a unique set of skills and behaviours to be successful, and your rewards programme should reflect this.

Consider how the roles in your business have evolved and adjust your rewards programme to match. Recruitment strategies have changed, and new roles, such as BDMs and delivery consultants, have emerged. If your rewards programme hasn't kept up with these changes, you miss out on opportunities to improve engagement and performance by realigning your rewards to your current business dynamic. Starting with the roles you have today (or plan to have in the near future) will help you build a rewards programme that motivates and incentivises your consultants effectively.

Develop role-driven incentives

Once you have the roles, responsibilities, and desired behaviours locked down, you'll be able to decide how performance will be measured and therefore rewarded. Take time to get this right, as it will determine the success of your rewards programme. Until you have a clear understanding of how you will measure performance, you're shooting in the dark.

Measuring performance can be challenging, particularly in recruitment, where success can be difficult to quantify. However, clear targets and KPIs help you measure progress and incentivise your consultants. For example, you can measure:

  • The number of placements a consultant makes

  • The revenue they generate

  • Client satisfaction

  • Consultant retention

  • Referrals

The key is identifying the metrics that align with your business goals and incentivising the behaviours you want to encourage.

It's also important to ensure that your performance metrics are fair and transparent. Your consultants need to know exactly what they need to do to achieve their targets and earn rewards. Clear communication and regular feedback help keep your consultants motivated and engaged. When your consultants know how they're being measured, they can focus on achieving their targets and driving business success.

Measure and reward performance

You've identified your desired behaviours and determined how you'll measure performance. Now, you can decide on the rewards you'll offer. Rewards can take many forms, including:

  • Financial incentives - bonuses, commissions, profit sharing  

  • Non-financial incentives - recognition, promotions, professional development opportunities

Financial incentives are often the best way to motivate consultants, but you need to structure them in a way that's fair and aligned with your business goals. You might offer a base salary plus commission, or a bonus structure that rewards top performers. Profit sharing can also be a powerful incentive, as it ties consultants' rewards to the success of the business as a whole.

Non-financial incentives can also work, particularly when combined with financial rewards. For example, recognition programmes - such as Consultant of the Month awards or public recognition of top performers - can help motivate your consultants and boost morale. Promotions and professional development opportunities can also be powerful incentives, as they provide your consultants with a clear path for career advancement and personal growth.

Find out more

Ultimately, your rewards should be tailored to your business goals, consultants' needs, and the behaviours you want to incentivise. By taking the time to design a rewards programme that's fair, transparent, and aligned with your business strategy, you can motivate your consultants and drive business success.

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