Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Incentive in pride?

Back in the day we did things because we were told to do them. It was extraordinarily simple and there was no negotiation, lengthy discussion or cost/benefit analysis. Hesitation & insubordination were closely followed by an unpleasant consequence. Times have changed, but is it for the better?

  • It wouldn’t be strange to hear a kid asking their parents ‘what do I get’ after a routine request. Our old answer usually contained lists like; allowance, some token toy or cool experience. The new answer is a copyright infringement of the Nike slogan.... [Just do it]
  • It wouldn’t be strange to hear of companies providing extra incentives for employee’s to meet the criterion already outlined in their contracts. Our old answer usually contained lists like; profit share, rewards points and cool trips. The new answer is to the effect of you get to keep your job. 
The point here is twofold.

  1. once you begin incentivizing behavior, you’ve conceded power & set a precedence that is very difficult to manage (eg: the stakes simply get higher and higher).
    • Most children lack the experience or reference to negotiate, hence should not be in an incentives conversation in the 1st place.
    • Employee’s need to understand their relationship with performance – profitability – debt servicing & profit sharing. Smart organizations will be tuned in. Broke organizations will fall prey to  believing they have to give more than they generate to keep everyone incentivized. 
  2. incentives don’t have to be monetary.
    • The very complaint handed down from generation to generation points to the ingratitude of the next. Gratitude is learned the same as ingratitude, meaning – if we teach it - we will see it, if we don't - we won't. If we fuel the greed, the beast gets hungrier. If we highlight the pride, we empower leaders!
    • There have been numerous studies done on intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards in the workplace and it’s been shown that intrinsic rewards are more meaningful & powerful in bringing about desired outcomes. Naturally many will believe they are worth more than they are being compensated and naturally many will elevate their spending based on their earning and make that problem the problem of the employer. That is human nature. But the right people (as raised per the standards above) will present differently because this has been reinforced early & often.
It’s time we added a good ole fashioned sense of get er done & give er my best to our rewards programs because it stands to reason that's what families, businesses and economies at large are in dire need of.

1 comment:

Steph said...

What do you know, you read my mind!