Signature As Incentive? How to Boost Employee Engagement


When the result of their effort is anonymous, it’s always someone else’s fault.

If something goes wrong, it will be the boss’s problem. Anonymity is not engaging…

But the minute they can put their name on it, they become in charge. They switch from just participating to being engaged and excited.

There’s pride in adding your name on the result of a project. Your work is publicly recognised. It produces ownership.

Artists sign their work.

The signature is part of the job. It’s the evidence that they created something new and approved the result, the art.

What about your team?

What if they start thinking of themselves as artists rather than passive project members? [1]

Anonymous work is not glorifying. What would happen if you gave them more ownership? What would happen if you let them sign their name?


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Notes about Signature As Incentive

[1] Steve Jobs wanted the team in charge of developing the Macintosh to think themselves as artists. And since artists sign their work, he decided that the team also had to sign the original Macintosh.

“Since the Macintosh team were artists, it was only appropriate that we sign our work. Steve [Jobs] came up with the awesome idea of having each team member’s signature engraved on the hard tool that molded the plastic case, so our signatures would appear inside the case of every Mac that rolled off the production line. Most customers would never see them, since you needed a special tool to look inside, but we would take pride in knowing that our names were in there, even if no one else knew.”

Andy Hertzfeld, member of the original Apple Macintosh development team

If you liked the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, go check, Andy Hertzfeld’s blog anecdotes about the development of Apple’s Macintosh.

[2] The featured image of this article is the inside of the Macintosh showing the signatures of the development team.

Here’s the original picture: