Pay your employees eligible for incentives or bonus payments smaller amounts but pay them more frequently. Instead of paying quarterly or semi-annually, try paying monthly smaller amounts. Pay the same amount in total but pay it more often over several pay periods. The benefit of this approach is that short periods start the clock more often, so if your employees are behind or off to a slow start, the period will end and the clock will start sooner than before. You can tell them, “Ok, last month was a bummer but the new month has started so get out there so we can issue you a check this month.”
Annual programs are demotivating because if the beginning of the year was lousy, the economy was down or the company’s customers were buying less, most sales reps give up or are no longer motivated by a program that most likely will not pay out. You do not want that attitude to hit your employees after a slow 1st quarter for example. Long waiting periods are demoralizing. You want your people participating to get up and get motivated again after a slow month.