A German institute has developed software that can help companies deploy a more sophisticated worker-incentive program.

The Institute for Integrated Production (IPH), which belongs to Hanover's Leibniz University, teamed up with partners from industry to develop the software, which aims to not just reward workers for productivity, but also takes into account their performance in other areas.

Employers can use the software to assess what parts of performance they need to incentivize to reach their goals. If, for example, workers need to keep stocks low, they could get a bonus based on an index that measures inventory levels.

In the course of the 21-month project, industry partners anonymously asked workers about their motivation. They also looked at the amount of freedom individual workers had to do their jobs.

In the second phase, engineers then determined what exactly workers had to accomplish to support company goals. They also developed indices to measure this performance and tied those to specific incentives.

The results were incorporated in a software program that will shortly be available as a free open-source solution online.