Enterprise Software

Why work incentives don't work


A lot of companies use bonuses and awards to raise employee productivity. But, according to Alfie Kohn, author of the book Punished By Reward: The Trouble With Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, As, Praise, and Other Bribes, awards don't work in the long run. Kohn states "People aren't naturally inclined to require T-shirts and trips to Hawaii in order to do their jobs." He adds that such incentives actually end up stifling employees' "intrinsic interest and curiosity." I agree for the most part, but I think there are exceptions in some lines of work, like sales. But in the general office environment, awards could ultimately decrease the effect you're trying to achieve.

An article in Psychology Today, says that "Rewards produce only a temporary upswing in productivity; they are strikingly ineffective at inducing lasting changes in attitudes or behavior."

The article goes on to list the problems with awards:

  • They're manipulative, contingent upon someone else's idea of success, and controlling. Workers who don't get the rewards they've been hoping for feel punished.
  • They deter risk-taking and creativity: Employees stick to easy tasks that allow them to achieve clear-cut goals.
  • They encourage competition, with individuals scrambling for "bonus points" at the expense of cooperation.
  • They make work seem distasteful, something to be done only for the money rather than the intrinsic motivation of a feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment, and satisfaction for a job well done.

What's your opinion about awards and bonuses?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

87 comments
techrepublic
techrepublic

I'd guess they don't work because most of the rewards are either worthless crap (company shwag, shiny awards) or not in line with the tastes of many/most employees.

mandrake64
mandrake64

I get a salary with fairly small yearly increments if any. The manufacturing company I work for has shifted more of the potential salary into a bonus that is determined by many factors including sales revenue, shareholder return, total product throughput, performance of capital projects, returns from improvement tasks and even safety performance. 50% of the total bonus is total business related. 25% is at department level with the final 25% resting with the performance and contribution of small teams. This all acts contrary to the points raised in the article. Team members not only have to look after their own targets but must also make contributions to the team, the deoartment and the whole business. Overperformance at each level can result in up to a 150% multiplier on the bonus. For example, my base bonus is 15% of total salary with potential for up to 22.5% if each level of the business does well. Add to that, a performance review approach that looks not only at what is achieved but how it is achieved within the scope of the team. This is actually strikingly effective at raising the individual contribution.

Canuckster
Canuckster

Incentives are nice if they are both rewarding and given appropriately. I think most of the issues raised concerning them are failures in management and not in the incentive. But I especially take exception to the notion that they are appropriate in sales and not everywhere in the agency. Sales people can be measured directly by revenue generated. You can show them directly what their performance is and what is expected. If they deal in B2B then they can often get out of the office, golf on Friday afternoons, attend conferences and exhibits, etc.. When was the last time a tow-motor operator took a client to a nice luncheon meal? Doesn't the shipping/receiving clerk feel punished when a sales person gets a bonus for making budget? Does the IT department get credit for fixing the sales person's laptop after they accidently left it on the roof of their car in the morning rush out the door? Incentives for everyone who is deserving.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

Yaddda yaddda yaddda.. I have been in the position to hear the old hackneed expression that money is a short term motivator. This is true but, you have to CONTINUE the motivation every year. People running the business forget this fact. Have a long term plan for the employee so that they can be motivated and reinforce this by providing education to support this plan. Discuss the plan with them (people need to know that it is just more than a job). For most of us, it is always about the money... "show me the money". Costs are going up and so should the salaries and monetary incentives. Of course the monetary incentives need to be achievable.

bastien
bastien

I think its a bit of a joke, when the lower employees get small 'rewards/awards' yet when the company gets into trouble, the senior management may get hundreds of thousands in incentives to help the company either sell itself or windup the company. There certainly is no fairness in that

PMPsicle
PMPsicle

I'm not going to discuss Herzberg & Maslow again. I suggest reading the post by jim.parlett@... above (Reward and Motivation - Maslow and Herzberg). I am however, going to refer to them. Let's start by separating promotion/celebration and reward/bonus. Both sets are intended to improve productivity. However, promotion/celebration are advertising or indirect techniques. Yes, they motivate but no they aren't intended to be specific and no they don't last. They also have other key purposes beyond promotion. Reward/Bonus exist strictly to encourage production and they are intended to be long lasting. I'll comment on promotion techniques later. But let's start with the bonus/reward issue first. In the 1970's the requirements for an effective bonus system were identified. And I don't know about anyone else but I was certainly taught it as a basic part of my management training. (FYI none of this is my opinion ... I just happen to agree with what has been known for at least 30 years). In short the rules are: 1. Herzberg & Maslow trump any reward system .... in other words, if you don't have the basics in place then you'll never get a reward system to work. 2. A reward or bonus has to be just that (see item 1 above). It has to be extra. If it is simply fulfilling Mazlow then it isn't going to work. So if you are intending to replace part of the pay structure with a bonus - forget it. It won't work. 3. It has to be directly (visibly) tied to something the recipient can directly and visibly effect. So forget a bonus based on Company results. That's called a gift not a bonus/reward. 4. It has to be achievable. Can a bonus/reward work? Yes, just follow the rules. I knew a company that would reward its customers -- give me five qualified leads and I'll give you a $200 product. Then it rewarded its salesmen for presenting the bonus system. Separately ... and guess what? It worked very well. I also knew a company that tried to reward its salesmen for referral leads generated. Didn't work too well. Why? Salesmen don't generate referrals. Customers do. The reward was based on something the salesman couldn't directly control. I also knew a company that rewarded its Project Managers for bringing in projects within 10% of estimate. Problem was they set the estimate before the project was properly scoped. (For those of you who aren't up on estimation error ... the error for the next step is -50%+100% ... I don't know anyone who has bothered to gather error for a guess of this type). Result wasn't exactly what they were looking for ... PMs padded their estimates wildly and then spent to the estimate and/or used change requests to "fix" the estimate. Follow the rules -- it works. Don't follow the rules - it won't work. Simple. As for promotion/celebration (i.e project kickoff meetings, give aways and closeouts (aka survival celebrations) ). They are only intended to be short term. And they're intended to be team building exercises NOT rewards. If you only party at the end of a successful project you'll cause resentment - Herzberg again. Why? Because then you're only rewarding the achievement ... which is beyond most people's sphere of control. The Irish hold wakes for everyone not just the rich! Post-project parties serve the same function - a chance to reflect, to relax, to celebrate, to mourn, to debrief. Unfortunately, over the last 15 years or so we seem to have lost site of the above; short memories, I guess. We keep trying to set up bonus/reward systems that violate the basic rules. We keep getting the team building events (i.e. promotion/celebration) confused with bonus/reward systems. Almost all the complaints in this thread have been examples of this tendency. Is it any wonder that someone has to come along and repeat what we already know in the hopes that we'll listen this time ...

SuperEMG
SuperEMG

Let's be honest -- work IS somewhat distasteful on some level, or else we wouldn't require remuneration to do it. The language of business is money (or its equivalent), so a company must pony up (especially for workers in fields like IT, which demand so much more of the employee by their pace and infringement on personal time, than other fields) to keep these people. A heartfelt "thank you" is always welcome, and of course money alone isn't enough to motivate or retain people, but bonuses and raises DO add credence to "we really appreciate you."

mhousler
mhousler

... I would probably agree but with my hopeful end of year bonus a few weeks away, I have a vested interest in these incentives LOL.

erincielenski
erincielenski

Forget the bonus, how about a promotion? Isn't that your end goal? Where do you want to go and are you driven enough to take yourself there? In most environments, poor work will not get you a promotion. Promotion = more money. I guess if you are at the top, bonuses count. Personally, keep the money and spend it on a roadway for the future. Create a program for employees to advance their careers. For the employees that don't want to participate, keep them as the worker bee's. We need them too. Some people like to do the same job everyday and go home.

hlhowell
hlhowell

Salesmen are no different than others. If rewards are good for them (and they are typically paid a commission, which is a reward in and of itself), why not others? Tech's, engineers, cleanup crew, all add their bit to company success. Would you allow your work to go to some orginzation whos work place was grubby filthy and messy? The cleaning is part of the process of success. And sales men in my experience add the least to the corporation. Just My Opinion.

TechTitan
TechTitan

There are a lot of philosophical writings out there relating business to war- and in fact I believe that the war metaphor is applicable to any competative environment. So, what is it that armies do after a victory??? Celebrate. They parade around like fools with the spoils of war on display and the competition in shackles. Sounds pretty fun... I think that this is what is missing from many team environments today. We work and work (usually complaining of lack of acknowledgement), secure a victory for the company... and then what? We go to the next battle, and the next, and the next. There seems to be less and less of a celebratory release of built up angst, or hell, even joy. At least, I sometimes feel that way. ...Kind of a morale killing, anticlimatic ending to an otherwise great project. I am no psychologist, but it seems a poor victory indeed when we create a feast, and never get a chance to taste it.

Autoyork162
Autoyork162

Why individual incentives do not work when based on company goals. Having recently worked for and left a company that completely left its employees out to dry. I think that individual's incentives work only when based on individual's goals. If the incentive relies on the company making its goals then the individual really feels cheated. If a company is going to do incentive programs then they need to be careful to keep the goals and the incentives based on the individual and that the goals help the company as a hole. They can not take away the incentive if the individual makes their goals but the company misses theirs.

yermanjf
yermanjf

Befor bonuses were given to the non managerial level here we had a Business VP tell us the he was not motivated by his bonus. He claimed to be motivated by the work. Someone had the guts to ask if he would give the bonus up then. The VP's reaction was less than congenial and it was pretty clear he expected a bonus for good work. My experience is the following: -Well managed incentives work to reward highly motivated people. -Incentives need to be meaningful and tied to what we want accomplished. -Marginally modivated people will not become highly motivated because of an incentive. -To keep motivated workers motivated for the long run the work must be interesting too. People who work hard and provide value for thier companies should compensated well. If they are not compensated well enough they will not work as hard.

zaferus
zaferus

In our workplace we had a lot of little I'll call them "dog" jobs stacking up that no one really wanted to do and since we're all quite busy it was easy to let them get shuffled along. I took these jobs and split them up (by approximate effort) and divided them amongst the team. Every job completed in the month got one "ballot" into the draw - the prizes started at an ipod, went to some gift certificates and then some corporate gear. In the month 80% of these tasks were completed - everyone got a prize and everyone was happy. It gave morale a shot in the arm, got some competition going, was a change of pace and got lots of little tasks cleared off our plates. I think that used properly, competitions and reward programs can be very successful in a workplace.

AlphaW
AlphaW

People are at work because they need a salary that can support them and their family. Incentives can keep employee churn down if they are done right. I have worked at quite a few companies and the ones that paid decently and had some other "perks" for good employees are the companies I enjoyed the most. Even a gift card once an a while is appreciated.

jadeonPax
jadeonPax

I think somehow it help in the productivity of the employee but to look at it in much wider span it does give only negative effect to the employee and the company also.. I truly agree that a job is not just to be done because of the money equivalent to it but to passion to do it..I think providing training and good benefits to the employees makes them more excited and focus in thier field of interest...

zroberts
zroberts

I do not agree with this article. Rewards systems are a critical tool for molding the behavior and actions of employees to provide value to the business. Salary is a great example of a "reward" for doing your job. Also, to say that rewards deter risk taking is dead wrong. Many types of rewards encourage risk taking, such as rewarding employees who come up with new innovations (such as in an R&D department).

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Whe the year end accounts come along. Bonus payout's whether it's a lump of cash or a plastic beaker with the comapny logo. No one looks at the ROI of the incentive scheme itself. Also when it comes to pay awards, a company will work out 'what it can afford' based on an expeceted bonus and salary. No matter how good the intention (and we all know where they lead), the first way to increase profit is the easy one, reduce cost. Doomed, from the get go.

carl
carl

Problem with most incentive or motivational approaches is that companies (aka management) tend to put them in play and let them run in 'auto pilot' . From the top management, they tend not to consider or monitor the overall impact on human behavior (and ultimately Values and Culture) across the organization when incentives are introduced. Once incentives cause people, especially executives, to only focus on those areas 'that pay' you drive greed, internal competition and myopic thinking. If unchecked, again especially at the executive level, could this contribute to corporate disasters like Enron, WorldCom, Nortel?

hsylves
hsylves

Rewards? I don't need no stinking rewards - I need money.

upuaut
upuaut

Aside from how this relates to IT, the question popped into my head immediately: if rewards produce only temporary productivity, should we reward our kids (in general)?

ginkep
ginkep

I do agree, mostly. But, there should be a balance between bonuses and other motivations in other aspect. Bonuses and rewards should be in help for workers to understand ??? the more they do the more they earn. Other motivation methods - let???s say: a little team party to put a point and celebrate an accomplished project. And despite of all this, will be one to mumble (in whisper or in mind): ???What is this party for me!? Give me cash bonus and I???ll know where to spend my money!??? There is no common rule for all. Moral: that will motivate one, will not the others.

mario.aguirre
mario.aguirre

Look what he says: "They make work seem distasteful, something to be done only for the money rather than the intrinsic motivation of a feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment, and satisfaction for a job well done. " As a matter of fact, we all WORK FOR THE MONEY! I don't matter if it makes me feel good, delighted or nothing. I work because I need the money. Accomplishment does not pay my bills nor feed my baby. Grow up man... I recommend Alfie to see how are the working conditions on Google, Yahoo, IBM and others... Do you think they are not well motivated?

casimiro.barreto
casimiro.barreto

Good people seeks for "healthy work environments". Good people look for growth (personal but also the growth of his team and of the corporation within they're inserted in). When people comes to me with the "advantages" talk I ask to cut the crap and to go down to the basics: the work, the salary, the team and how the company wants to grow within the next years.

bwithnell
bwithnell

I hate to break this to the author, but people work not just for the satisfaction of doing a good job. They also have to earn a living. Sure, it is hard to measure cooperation, but that is what good management does. Ultimately, if you hire good people -- not just a person with the appropriate checks in the appropriate skills boxes -- and pay them well, you will have success. If a company really considers the people that work for it their most valuable resource, rather than their highest expense, the people will know it and respond. If good people are treated as expenses, they will know it and leave. The only ones that remain at that point are those that can't get another job. Hire good people, pay them well.

reggbin99
reggbin99

You are correct! Incentive will not help any organization rather it develops an inner politics where it will loose the team work. Also,formulas for incentive will put lots of issues to the minds of the people who work under you in a different way. Anybody works for money, so an increase in the salary and DA will give more boost to the minds of the people rather than incentive............ Good team work will give more productivity. More Productivity will give better output. Better Output from any project should be correcly rewarded by increments and salary.......... Reggie Mathew

reggbin99
reggbin99

You are correct! Incentive will not help any organization rather it develops inner politics where it will loose the team work. Also,formuls for incentive will give lots issues to the minds of the people who work under you in a diffrent way. Anybody works for money so an increase in the salary and DA will more boost to the monds of the people rather than incentive............ Good team work will more productivity. More Productivity will give better output. Better Output from any project should be correcly rewarded by increments and salary.......... Reggie Mathew

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Let's not forget about Herzberg and McClelland. Either way, this is a total load...it's an excuse for companies to continue to be cheap because the employee doesn't want money, they want achievement...blech

techrepublic
techrepublic

The other thing I would say is that if there is any significant mismanagement, then employees will hardly be motivated to enable the (partial) destruction of the business (a.k.a. their jobs). Imagine the downward spiral of a badly managed group/company getting into trouble and then resorting to bribes to "motivate" people to continue the lunacy.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

I've had this conversation a million times. Those people CAN deserve a payment for sales if one or two conditions are true: 1. They are a shareholder in the business; OR 2. They agree to a cut in their salary in the first place. Risk and reward. If you want more reward, take more risk. Very simple. A salesperson's base salary is usually determined by their [b]proven[/b] experience. It's why a junior salesperson gets very close to subsistence, if that. But it is also whay a senior and proven salesperson gets a huge base. It's simply a market force. You can perhaps be jealous but that would be silly - one day you may be in a position of managing these people and if you think you can find heavy-hitters on the cheap, then go for it! I absolutely guarantee you wont. The salesperson's ability to maintain that base and earn commission is tested and measured every week, month, quarter and year. It's interesting that the time unit of measure is usually significantly less than the average sales cycle. Time-wasters are usually found out pretty early on. Their commission, as you so rightly point out is, [i]for the most part[/i], an objective assessment of their performance against target. {Look I am sure you can raise exceptions, but I am pretty confident that, as a rule, these statements ring true.} Be neither jealous nor insincere. Without sales people, or someone performing the role of selling (whatever you may call them!!) your job does not exist. If it sounds like selling is too easy and they earn too much for so little - come and be one! Then you can find out what the word 'stress' actually means. I have had lots of friends come from diverse technical backgrounds into selling. I've never heard anyone of them say they've made their jobs easier. And I am sorry but I have to ask: Why should a shipping clerk receive a commission again??? Simple words please.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

A lot of sales get earn their comission, whether the customer pays up or not. Generally the easier a performance indictaor is to measure, the more likely it's going to be counter-productive and become a salary in disguise. When I moved from manufacturing I got a ?12k increase in salary and ?5k drop in gross income.. Says it all really, doesn't it.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Or so the current line of thinking goes. What really kills me is that support roles (like IT) are "not needed," until something breaks or they need something yesterday. Oh, and let's not forget that everyone likes incentives, but we feed marketing and sales incentives like it's going out of style...How's that for a disincentive for everyone else?

davel
davel

I personally use rewards as such to show my appreciation for a job well done. Some are significant some are not. All seem to be accepted and appreciated. I believe it is seen as respect.

dallas_dc
dallas_dc

I agree with zaferus. Incentives are tools that can be used effectively or extremely ineffectively, depending on whether you have one those "Pointy Hair Bosses" (see Dilbert). I am reading a lot of cynicism in these posts. I am guessing that the poor handling of these incentives generates a lot of negative emotion. The bottom line for me is that the achievers love incentives, and the people sitting in the middle of the boat without an oar in their hands, do not.

jim.parlett
jim.parlett

Fred Herzberg and Abraham Maslow were industrial psychologists who did research on motivation. Herzberg asked people about times when they had felt good about their work. He discovered that the key determinants of job satisfaction were Achievement, Recognition, Work itself, Responsibility and Advancement. He also found that key dissatisfiers were Company policy and administration, Supervision, Salary, Interpersonal relationships and Working conditions. What struck him the most was that these were separate groups with separate evaluation, and not a part of the same continuum. Thus if the company resolved the dissatisfiers, they would not create satisfaction. This means that if you don't get what you feel you are worth, you will feel dissatisfied, but if you get paid what you feel you are worth but hate your boss and don't get praised for doing a good job, you won't be satisfied. And for those who say they just work for the money, ask yourself this: if you could get the same money, but work for a boss who praises you, defers to your expertise, involves you in decision-making and trains you, and with co-workers you respect and who respect you, would you change your job? Of course you would! All this was around in the 60s and 70s, but got lost in the 'Money is King' days of Thatcher and Bush senior. So this 'new thinking' is just re-gurgitating what has been known by good managers and psychologists for decades. It all went downhill when Personnel (which was about people and personalities) got renamed Human Resources (which is about things to be used and discarded . . . )

PsiFiScout
PsiFiScout

Rewards are OK if used properly, but they are not the primary motivation for good work. Give me a fairly hefty paycheck, not enough to equal the CEO, but enough that I am not living paycheck to paycheck and I will produce results. If I do something like create a money making tool kick me a piece of the profit from that innovation. As a one time "thanks". But for me to expect rewards just for doing my daily work and no more is a bit ludicrous.

tech_ed
tech_ed

Sure...Everyone likes cash...and while a few hundred, to perhaps a thousand (or even more) is nice, it's not an incentive to do extra work. At a prior company, they had these awards where they got "recognition" and got paraded through the company during the quarterly meetings, and a select few got picked to vacation in the carribean for a long weekend. Plus they got some spending money...OK, I dont' know how much money it was, no one told me...but when I saw how much work they had to do to get picked...60-80 hour weeks, no personal time, no family time...no time to themselves...I don't think that what they got was worth it. Unless you're going to give me a substantial bonus (I'm talking more than 50% of my salary) then the incentive is not worth it. I'm not going to kick a$$ and potentially ruin my marriage or miss important family gatherings for a meesly 2-4 thousand dollars, I can skip the paltry bonus which won't even pay for weekend vacation for 4, and live comfortably on my salary alone! Unfortunatly, most companies can't afford to pay their employees bonus's at that level (not if the CEO wants to walk away with their bonuses). Look, if you want me to give life altering work to the company, then you as the company must give me a life altering bonus. Let me tell you...if you give me a $40-50k bonus, you better believe it I'll be the most a$$ kicking-est employee you have ever seen! Ed web/gadget guru

PsiFiScout
PsiFiScout

I cannot agree more. I work for the money. If a person wants to feel satisfaction for a job well done, it has to come from within. If you are sitting at your desk drawing a good paycheck and waiting for a pat on the back from the boss for doing your job, you may be in for a long wait. The job I do, may make the difference in life and death, as I help in part, in creating simulations that soldiers use before going into battle. If the simulations are good then the soldiers get better training and thereby a better chance of going home in one peice. That is job satisfaction for me. I would like a bigger paycheck but if the boss doesn't see fit to give me one, then I will refrain from excelling at office politics, but I don't consider my boss or his politics as important as the customer, who's life depends on my products. I do work with some that value their careers more than the soldiers, but that is their problem, not mine.

notinterestedanymore
notinterestedanymore

"Hire good people, pay them well." Finding good people is hard. One company I worked for hired anyone with a pulse because they were growing rapidly. For every 10 people we put on, one was considered good, one was considered poor, and the rest were average. A second company I worked for would only hire the best. Only one in ten applicants was invited to join the company. Sure we had great people, just not enough of them to grow the company. There just aren't that many good people out there.

mrg8575
mrg8575

I agree because last time I checked, I could not pay my rent with recognition... As an employee, I don't need recognition to validate that I am doing a good job. To me, a bonus is a way for a company to show their appreciation for a person's efforts.

Komplex
Komplex

Companies want to have it both ways, they want employee loyalty, but they don't want to be loyal to the employees. If the company treats it's workers right, then there's just no need for silly productivity promotions.

ed.fletcher
ed.fletcher

I can see you point on individual awards (although I don't necessarily agree). If individuals are rewarded carefully for specific reasons (maybe nominated by fellow employees), it can be a great incentive. However, if a prjuect goes well, you should rewards the WHOLE team - as everyone contributed to the success. OK, you cannot take everyone to a fancy resort, but you can get everyone on the train for lunch in Paris (from the UK). I had a boss who did just that - for over 80 people. The team was still talking about the excellent day they had months later.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Using your own words "Without shipping clerks, or someone performing the role of packaging and mailing (whatever you may call them!!) your job does not exist." Same goes for IT, HR, etc.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

This is assuming you are being paid what you are worth. Most people believe they are worth more than they are being paid, and typically those that are good at their jobs, do need more. However, how many people are just living paycheck to paycheck want a pat on the back? Nobody, that's who.

PsiFiScout
PsiFiScout

Your definition of "Good" may need a re-look. I don't claim to be the smartest guy working in IT, but with two degrees (one in IT/Networks and the other in CIS) I do know a few things on the subject. I also have a wealth of management skills collected through a 20+ year military career, prior to entering the IT field. I have entered jobs with all the boxes checked, only to find unrealistic expectations from the management, a management that is out of touch with IT. Low pay combined with unrealistic expectations from management, combined and had a demoralizing effect on everyone. Some pushed through and did an "average" job, some needed the income and stayed around and collected the paycheck others like myself left the job, due to the idiocy of management who thinks that they have all the answers when they don't. As I said I don't have all the answers but I am willing to work with a manger who is willing to look beyond the bottom line and spend a little time developing the skills of their workers in areas that they may not have them. No one know everything, but a good manager will get their people the reinforcement in the weak areas to get them to know what they need to rather than to condemn the employee for not being the smartest guy on the planet. In my current position I am working to increase my skills because my first line supervisor is giving the team (with the corporation picking up the tab) the tools needed to fix the broken areas rather than simply saying that the people they hired aren't any good. If your people aren't "GOOD" perhaps as a manager you need to make them good, rather than pointing fingers at others.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

But putting a body in a seat is hindering those that ARE good. They are being held back by the dead weight and have to work harder to undo what the poor/below average employees are doing.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

"Finding good people is hard" Keeping good people can be hard too.

captainrichardkelm
captainrichardkelm

Incentives can work, if managed very carefully, less you face unintended consequences as eluded to in the original article. And remember that for most employees, recognition for outstanding performance is more important than "$". The challenge is to specifically define what that outstand performance looks like and give staff the tools and authority to achieve.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I was being an ass, but you do bring up a good point. Sales people get a bad rap (because of the few bad seeds)....

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

- a developer who's fibbed about project status, particularly their own? - an HR person who's fibbed about opportunity or corporate outlook or a million other things? - a shipping clerk who's fibbed about "never received that shipment advice"? Gimme a break! :)

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

It's up to me, huh? Blech... I can't stand sales...I'm too honest and I don't play the games...

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

... because they don't (usually) put at risk any component of their salary in the first place. If they do, then their commissions should be commensurate with performance and overacheivement should be measurable and attainable. Again, if you want to be a salesperson and get the (perceived and real) perks - be one !! It's the easiest career to get into. There are companies that will hire anyone tomorrow and give them a chance to gain experience tomorrow. Guaranteed. What's not guaranteed is actually earning any money - that is up to "you", if you're good!!

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Good point, however Maslow explains that there is a monetary point for everyone.

somethinggood4
somethinggood4

People who live paycheque to paycheque are in many cases the sort of people who are living beyond (or at least at) their means to begin with. They are (usually) the sort of people for whom nothing is ever enough, so they are not likely to be motivated by any reward/bonus/salary scheme, as they have already decided in advance that they should be entitled to more. If they were willing to be satisfied with less, they wouldn't be living paycheque to paychque. And hence, they will not be satisfied with more, either. It will likely never be enough.

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