GM' salaried employees will be rewarded for high levels of customer retention.

Performance-based incentives for employees isn't a new concept at General Motors, but the Detroit automaker has added a new twist. GM is now offering its salaried employees bonuses based on owner loyalty.

Mark Reuss, GM's North America president, has instituted a new program that rewards employees for creating vehicles that keep customers coming back to GM showrooms. The new incentive program, which covers all of GM's 98,000 salaried employees in North America, awards bonuses for customer loyalty in both sales and service at GM dealerships.

"That is the ultimate result of why we're doing all of this, right? People come back and buy our cars and trucks," Reuss told Automotive News.

The program is the first of its kind in Reuss' 26-year career, and likely the first in GM's history, too. The idea of tying employee bonuses to customer loyalty is also a radical diversion from GM's past strategies. Not only was customer satisfaction not even included in GM's past bonus structure, but the automaker didn't even take total sales into account.

"Everybody had their own metrics, which somehow were all green," or positive, Reuss says of the old GM. "But, weirdly, when we added it up, it was pretty red."

GM isn't releasing specific details of the incentive program - such as the necessary customer retention rate or the size of the bonuses - but the company will use a combination of third-party and internal figures to determine the yearly bonuses.