Jeremy Stern – Managing Director of Promo Veritas Ltd – has a novel incentive idea that he uses to motivate his team. He has been kind enough to share this idea with us, so give it a go and let us know what you think:

‘I run a small company with 12 employees, about half are Account Managers, the rest are Project Managers.

Our focus is on doing things right! Right for the client, the consumer and the company. I have never been happy with straight commission based sales incentive schemes because there is a risk that this balance will be negatively affected and the long term future of the client relationship jeopardised by short term money grabbing. Plus we are not sophisticated enough in our systems to be able to pay commission on net profit per project. Finally several members of the team may have contributed in varying proportions to the new business and this is hard to quantify and reward.

However, it is easier to spot and reward particular actions that are above and beyond the course of normal duty, ones that contribute to our brand reputation or quality of service. This is the basis behind the Mr Potato Head incentive scheme. It is non-contractual and totally discretionary but designed to reward the right behaviour.

Each week at our team meeting, I ask each individual to nominate themselves and a colleague. Nominations are to be made on the basis of something that they have done this week that was great :

  • A significant piece of new business that was won, not just landed on our desks
  • A significant process or cost efficiency improvement
  • A real problem or crisis that was resolved
  • A great example of team working

If I agree that it is a valid nomination – and they are not always – then I give out a piece of the Mr Potato Head.

When Mr Potato Head is completed, ( and there are 9 pieces to collect) then the staff member returns it to me, and I give them a £40 bonus, and they start collecting again.

I find it works because it makes people think about what they have done in the past week to deserve it, the Mr Potato Head is very visible, it sits on everyone’s desk so they can see how close they are to achieving it, and it is a bit of light fun with a good benefit behind it.

 Try it ! (but do watch out for collusion, the ‘I will nominate you, if you nominate me’ !)’

If you would like to find out more about Promo Veritas Ltd – The Independent Promotional and Broadcast Verification Specialists – head to their website

Do you have a wacky idea for an incentive scheme? Send us in some info about it (along with some pictures or a video) to and we’ll make sure to feature you on our Facebook page – like us if you haven’t already!

Posted by David Eaton

David is a Chartered Accountant and Director of SME Strategies ( which offers tailored support to ambitious SMEs and gives mentoring to owner managers.