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Incentive Pay Considered Harmful - so instead. . ?

i am the manager of a software development group at a largely informally run trading company.  i am cursed with the dilemma of having several developers who report to me who are very bright, hard working and a pleasure to work with. to make matters worse, my boss is open to non-traditional ways of rewarding such things.  this sort of leaves me holding the bag.  i thought about buying them all ponies (after all, Joel's article isn't titled "Incentive Ponies - Considered Harmful"), but i'm not sure that is really the best way to go.

i have been until fairly recently a full time developer (now i'm both a full time manager and full time developer, thus being able to under-deliver in two capacities!), so i like to think that my world-view is not too dissimilar from those i have the power to (dis)incentive. speaking for myself, while a pony is always nice of course, money is pretty cool too.  if i gave myself a raise tomorrow, in appreciation for all the hard work i'd done for me, i think i'd be pretty happy.  on the other hand, a lot of what Joel wrote about incentive pay not being such a good idea resonates. what i didn't get from his article, is what to do instead.  from what i can infer in his writing, his answer might be something along the lines of:

1. create a truly amazing work environment (office space, hardware, etc)
2. give everyone six weeks of vacation
3. only hire 'A' developers, who merit #1 and #2

while i suspect these all serve him wonderfully well, i am not in a position to offer any of these.  as i said above, many of those i work with rate (in my book) as an A, and no one is worse than a B, but i am not in a position to clean house and slowly accumulate only A's (nor am i sure i would want to, even if i were able).  also, i am *not* going to be able to raise vacation from our very pedestrian 2 weeks (3 at three years), at least not any time soon.  finally, our office space is pretty well fixed, at least for the next year or two.  nevertheless, i have been given the go-ahead to look into other forms of compensation / incentive / quadruped.  i am really interested to hear what has worked (and what hasn't) elsewhere.  if you are a developer, what was the most and/or least effective thing management ever did to try to recognize your brilliance?  if you are a manager, what have you found worked the best and or worst in this arena?

thanks!
-tim

Timothy Flechtner
Monday, August 30, 2004

Isn't it amazing that all these fanatastic companies "can't afford" to pay their employees well.

muppet
Monday, August 30, 2004

i don't think salary is an issue.  according to (my take on) "Incentive Pay Considered Harmful", the rewarding of high performance through bonus/raise doesn't work so well.

its not a matter of not having the resources to reward achievments, but how to reward achievments in a way that is effective (a way that does what bonuses are theoretically intended to do).

Timothy Flechtner
Monday, August 30, 2004

oh yeah, and where are you quoting "can't afford" from?

Timothy Flechtner
Monday, August 30, 2004

Timothy,
Have you read PeopleWare?  That is a good place to start to gain understanding on *why* a typical incentive program can be ineffective.  My understanding is not so much that all incentive pay programs are 100% bad.  Its just that the way most are set up will usually give the employee the feeling that they are a Pavlovian dog.  Such a good boy!  Here's a treat.

The best results come from paying people for *consistent* demonstration of quality and skill.  Essentially, you want people on your team who's primary motivation is their own pride in their work.  People who only care about doing good work so they can get more money are a red flag.  You want people who have a passion about the quality of their work, and then you should pay them enough so that  they don't have to be distracted from doing quality work by thinking about how they aren't paid enough.  I'm not talking about lowballing anyone.  Just that you want people to not be worrying about money while also not bankrupting the company.

As far as alternatives to the cheesy awards and incentives, have you tried talking to your team?  Ask them as a group what kinds of things they would like to see as rewards for singular accomplishments, or morale building, comraderie, etc.  Then ask them each privately to see if they have different answers than the others.  People are different.  The worst thing to do is treat a group of people as if one thing is equally valuable to all of them.  Allow them to feel that it is OK to be different, and that their hard work will result in good things that are good specifically for them.

Clay Whipkey
Monday, August 30, 2004

Do you have authority to spend money on incentives?

the artist formerly known as prince
Monday, August 30, 2004

If you do why not computers/monitors/software/massage chairs... instead

the artist formerly known as prince
Monday, August 30, 2004


There were four of us working for another division within our company a couple of weeks ago and they wanted to show their gratitude....


During one of our LONG meetings that was going to span lunch, they left us in the conference room and told us to wait.  They came back in with a completely catered lunch with drinks (non-alcoholic unfortunately) and expressed their thanks.

It was a relatively small gesture that made us feel good about the whole thing...

KC
Monday, August 30, 2004

Also If you have to authority to give vacations, do you have authority to give comp time?

the artist formerly known as prince
Monday, August 30, 2004

Give them a secret day off each month.  By secret days off, I mean don't tell management and don't record them as vacation.  If anyone asks about Joe, he's at an off-site training.

Let each person pick his day (though you should be sure that the team coordinates having only 1 or 2 people out at a time).  Time away from work is the best reward you can give to workers.

Boofus McGoofus
Monday, August 30, 2004

Hookers and blow, man, get them hookers and blow.

Mr. Fancypants
Monday, August 30, 2004

Speaking as a developer...

First consider the ponies.  A pony costs X dollars.  You can either pay your employees an additional X dollars or you can spend the money to buy them a pony.  The basic reason they work for your company is to make money to spend as they choose.  Giving them a pony just eliminates a choice for them.  It is closer to an insult than an incentive.

CW writes: "The worst thing to do is treat a group of people as if one thing is equally valuable to all of them. "  An example:  At a previous employer, a manager decided to buy a small number of tickets to the local baseball games and distribute them by drawing of names.  Of course, the people who had no interest in going to baseball games were automatic losers in this scheme.  Later, tickets to concerts were added.  Eventually the whole thing was dropped.

Vacation:  Two weeks is rather puny.  You were rather adamant about not being able to increase that.  Why?  Are you sure you aren't giving up too easily on this?  If it can't be paid vacation, then can you let them take off an additional week or two of unpaid vacation.  There was a thread on JoS recently about GM allowing its employees to buy additional weeks of vacation.  The referenced article said that the employees were quite happy to get the additional time off.

One more thing on vacations.  Be sure to let people take vacations when they have them scheduled.  If a deadline gets dropped right in the middle of someones vacation plan, don't tell them they can't go.

You write: " what i didn't get from his article, is what to do instead. ", and a couple of lines later list most of the things you need to do instead. It looks to me like you know what to do, but for some reason don't want to do it.  Or are making up excuses for why you  don't do it.  But Joel was talking about creating an environment for "A"s, and it sounds like you might not really be interested in that anyway.

mackinac
Monday, August 30, 2004

If someone isn't generously compensated for their hardwork, they will eventually get pissed and leave.  MOST good programmers I know are ambitious in the sense that in 3 years they want to be doing much better for themselves.  I know a few who are content to have an easy 9-5 job that gives extra vacation and pays the industry standard with little to no upward mobility, but most are looking for more $$$ among other things.  If someone is really an A person (and I mean someone who knows what they are doing and really GOOD at it, not just someone with the right experience), they should be paid so well that an extra incentive is not even an issue. 

vince
Monday, August 30, 2004

On a practical level, if there's something that the employees would value there can be tax advantages to giving them stuff instead of bonuses.  So don't overlook that.  It can sometimes cost the employer less and be more valuable to the employee than the net of the bonus after taxes.

Jeremy
Monday, August 30, 2004

You work for a trading firm and you think incentive pay is considered harmful. I work at a trading firm and the whole idea is to make money. Bonuses are a main attraction in keeping people from leaving.

Tom Vu
Monday, August 30, 2004

I can't give any opinion as a supervisor, I can as an employee.

"Show me the money"

If it's bad for me to recieve this an an incentive, I might be able to find a way to live with it.

Although having better equipment is nice, when I leave(voluntary or not), it stays with the company. I'm not saying I shouldn't have the right tools to do my job, but not having a 20" LCD it not going to kill me.

Training would also be good, but only if I can take it during company hours. But what are my options if I don't need/want it? Do I loose out?

Extra vacation time would be great, but if there are strict rules about when and for how long, then what's the point?

Pay is better as an employee since I have greater freedom deciding on what to do with it. I might be able to upgrade my vacation when I'm allowed to take one, Buy myself that 20" LCD, take night cources, pay for things not covered by insurance or whatever.

If you do appreciate the work I do, say it with some meaning. Don't do it condicendingly or not mean it.

I had a suporvisor that had a horrible attitued, that would "say" all the right things when upper management was around. Moral always tanked afterword.

If you can't do anything, please be honest and treat me like an adult. The worse experiance was a CEO that always promised bonuses and couldn't deliver. I have no clue why he did, as the IT staff we generated the financial reports and knew the exact financial state of the company before it was delivered to his desk!

Well that's my 2 cents :)

anon-88
Monday, August 30, 2004

>>>finally, our office space is pretty well fixed, at least for the next year or two.<<<

Only a year (two at most)?  It's time to start planning now.

>>> nevertheless, i have been given the go-ahead to look into other forms of compensation / incentive / quadruped.  <<<

Who gave the go ahead?  What do they expect to acheive?  Whose idea is this?  The more I read the OP the more I sense an inconsistency.  You want to give incentives, then tell us you can't give them anything important. Maybe you should just give them a raise.

mackinac
Monday, August 30, 2004

wow!  lots of thought provoking thoughts in the time it takes to take the train home.  thanks!  let me try to address several questions raised above:

Clay Whipkey:
yes, i've read PeopleWare (great book), and what it (and you) say about incentive plans not really being applied "correctly" rings true.

tafkap:
yes, i have authority to spend money on incentives;  we already do pretty well from a computer hardware point of view, but i find the idea of cool chairs and such intriguing. . .

i have limited authority to give comp time; since we are a trading firm, it is fairly important to be around during trading hours.

KC:
food is something i personally really enjoy, so this makes sense to me.  i'll try to think up something appropriate for culinary thankyous.

Boofus McGoofus:
cool idea!

Mr. Fancypants:
it is a trading firm, i'm not sure they'd notice this.

mackinac:
i agree.  it sure seems to me that value(pony) <= value($$ equivalent of pony), but there is a fair amount of literature that puts forth the claim that money is not as effective as well done (and there's the rub) personalized thank you's, hence my original question.

as far as not being interested in A's, i don't believe that is the case;  i've been a manager a fairly short time.  i don't think i understand enough about what is going on yet to really understand what an A employee is.  so far, the people i think are A's have very similar virtues to what i aspire to.  weird, huh? :)

its not a matter of me wanting to give the right sorts of incentives/rewards, its a matter of me feeling that i understand what those things are.

i was given the opportunity to compensate people as mentioned above by the people i report to.  the limitations in vacation and office stuff are relatively short term, as you point out.  nevertheless, i wanted to explore other approaches as well.

vince:
everything you said makes sense, but i'm not starting from zero and hiring people; i've entered into an existing situation, where people were hired prior to my all-wise presence.  making salaries commensurate with contributions is certainly part of my job, but i believe that part is relatively easy (for me, since its not my money to assign), and my company is farily generous when it comes to salaries.  i'm more concerned about trying to create an environment which will keep the high achievers, once the economy again makes it easy to switch jobs.

anon-88:
good points. :)  i certainly will try to deliver.  i don't envision that being my problem.





thanks everyone!

Timothy Flechtner
Monday, August 30, 2004

Instead of incentive pay, pay them properly in the first place.

KC, you're cheap if a catered lunch impresses you. If anyone did that to me I wolud throw it in their face.

Bongo Drums
Monday, August 30, 2004

Mr. Fancypants, I like the way you think, but I'll have to pass on the blow, I can't afford to destroy any brain cells.

Wisea**
Monday, August 30, 2004

"KC, you're cheap if a catered lunch impresses you. "

He might just be used to a boss like mine, who holds mandatory lunch-hour meetings, then at the end his secretary brings in a single pizza (for the eight of us), a liter bottle of Coke, and a stack of paper towels from the restrooms to use as plates, while HE ducks out to go to lunch.

John
Monday, August 30, 2004

Stress relievers are perhaps a good option.  Things such as arcade games at our workplace are nice.  I can go play a quick game of Joust or some other older game for 10-20 minutes once a day, to clear my head.

;
Monday, August 30, 2004

If you're in a large urban area, there are companies who will come in and give everyone in the department a chair massage (just neck and shoulders -- no need for exposing naughty bits) -- if there's a tight deadline coming, this might be a nice stress buster for your staff.

Boofus McGoofus
Monday, August 30, 2004

Give Alfie Kohn's work a read starting with, "Punished by Rewards"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0618001816

anon
Monday, August 30, 2004

Tim,

There's plenty of articles out there like Joel's that say that pay for performance is a big mistake. True professionals work for intrinsic satisfaction of working. It is a mistake to remardgood performance. Etc. One thing all these articles have in common is they are written by business owners.

Tell you what. You believe that people should not be paid for performance because it is a principle of human behaviorism that that doesn't work. Great. So you go off and with your stsock traders their remove their commissions and bonuses. Just do that. You come back here in six months and tell me if you got better results. If you did, then sure, go ahead and apply these principles to the developers as well.

Looking forward greatly to your response.

Sapporo
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

> True professionals work for intrinsic satisfaction of working.

At the same time, it's nice to know that I'm earning more in my present job than I am likely to be offered on the "open market" if I were to look for another, or entertain offers from headhunters: it saves me from the distraction of looking elsewhere merely for more money.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=money+hygiene+factor

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Oh my first Paragraph is a regurgitation of the common wisdom. which is wrong.

In point of fact, True Professionals work for cold hard cash. It is amateurs who work for intrinsic satisfaction. That is the definition between professional and amateurs.

For those thinking that people will work with no incentive, I quote from one of the reviews for the above mentioned book:

> The book would certainly have been much better if Kohn didn't selectively discuss, at great length, the small minority of studies that imply any support for his theories at the expense of the vast majority of peer-reviewed studies that contradict what he is implying. In fact, when used effectively, arranging "rewards" (using reinforcement) for appropriate activities may increase these activities without any detrimental effects. Interestingly, while bashing the use of rewards to influence what others do, Kohn offers very little in the way of concrete strategies to increase the likelihood that individuals will study more, work more productively, be nice to one another, etc. He seems to suggest that the natural goodness in all of us will flow from an environment without any contingencies. How very groovy. Unfortunately, Kohn's assertions are not supported by empirical research. Just take a look at some of the research on laissez-faire (permissive) parenting by Baumrind to see what I mean.

Sapporo
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"yes, i have authority to spend money on incentives;  we already do pretty well from a computer hardware point of view, but i find the idea of cool chairs and such intriguing. . ."

Whoa there, this is a thing you should think twice on. Notice how you say "*I* find ... intriguing"? It's not about you, it's about your workers - if someone tried to "reward" me with a cool chair, I'd almost take it as an insult (I got a new chair a year ago and it's worse than the old one, but much more expensive so probably someone thought they were "rewarding" me - I just don't know who to be pissed off at <g>).

Whatever you do, make sure you talk with the people you are rewarding. Everyone needs and wants different things. Also, make sure it isn't a one-time thing: people need attention just like old automobiles. Talk with them every now and them, ask what's on their minds, make sure you know if anyone has anything they'd want to be addressed, and then act on it. My boss always asks me if I need or want anything when he's ordering stuff - little things, but I haven't spent any money on computer hardware in over two years.  And he never forgets to ask, which is really nice.

Good pay and being noticed and thought of, that feels good IMO.

Antti Kurenniemi
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Read up on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs its much more fundamental than all that 'read my latest management technique' bollocks.

Everyone has their own hierarchy, the basic elements of food, shelter, protection of family and so on will be quite common (though not universal, young single males have quite different hierarchies), but the higher levels will tend to deviate wildly.

So Incentive/Reward schemes should be tailored to the individual.  This is difficult on an industrial scale or for short term workers but is feasible on a departmental level for skilled and valuable workers.

Jealousy between workers should be minimised if the scheme really has been tailored to their needs and if they feel they are being justly treated.

In practice its actually the feeling of being treated in a just and fair way which is the hardest to accomplish.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

There are two issues. Firstly, if some small additional pay is attractive, then the people are not being paid properly to start with.

Secondly, if you have incentives, you have to create criteria, and that is very hard. Are you going to reward lines of code, freedom from bugs, meeting the deadline? Whatever you define, you distort the process and probably wreck the work, if professional work is at stake.

That's why it's better to just pay professional people well to start with.

Bongo Drums
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Hi,

Incentive pay.  This is a little like having sales.  You get a short term gain, but then everyone starts expecting it.

I guess it depends on whether you think people should get different amounts from year to year or everyone should get the same each year.

If it's the latter, then how about an selection of things.  Money, club membership (whatever, could be gym), tickets to sporting events or whatever.

Everyone is going to want something different.  So it might be worth either finding a few things so that everyone will want to do at least something.  Maybe you can organise some bulk discounts with those places.  Or, offering to pay for them as company benefits.  That way the company and the employee receive more benefit (no tax to pay!).

Steven
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Reward them with more work.  Unpaid overtime builds character.

If they do a good job, let them rescue other teams who do not program so well.

At the same time, give praise to a job well done to the project manager who really didn't do anything.

That is what most companies do.  If it works for them, won't it work for you?

XYZZY
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"In point of fact, True Professionals work for cold hard cash. It is amateurs who work for intrinsic satisfaction. That is the definition between professional and amateurs."

When one's only motivation is cold hard cash, the only thing that's important is that you *appear* to have done a great job.  As long as management thinks you are a superstar, that is the only measurement of being professional, because they give you more money?  This philosophy opens too much motive to cut corners and sweep crap under the rug.  As long as things are not visible to anyone who signs paychecks, you are still a pro.  Chrome-plated dogsh*t.

If you have the wool pulled over the eyes of the keepers of the purse-strings, what is the motivation to do the little things that take extra effort and make programs efficient, scalable, maintainable?  Those things are very often overlooked and overshadowed in the eyes of management, and its only your own pride in your craft that will motivate you to do those things right.

There is more to a good working environment than making a ton of money.  Yes, we should be paid for the true value of our knowledge, and that we can do what others need and can't do for themselves.  But you need more than just the love of money to be an "A" player.  The quote sounds like it comes from someone who is not making a ton of money yet, and hates his job, and thinks that if he was making great money that would make it all better.

Clay Whipkey
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Clay, sounds to me like you're the one who is insecure about his pay. I do fine myself. Where did I say boatloads of cash are required? I do require market rates. Professionals work for cash, the satisfaction of a job well done comes with that as well. Amateurs have only the satisfaction of a job well done. That's well and good, but it does not give you the breathing room to really focus on your craft and do well because you are always hustling to get by.

Who has more time to practice their art? Professional baseball players or amateurs? Professionals! They are paid well for what they do.

To say as you are  saying that being paid and requiring pay incentives as a precondition to working for others means that one does shoddy work is crapola of the most sublime variety.

Sapporo
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bottom line:

Consistent pay => consistent work

Spikes in pay => spikes in work


If you have really studly people, pay them as much as you can afford.  Then wander around every couple months and ask them what else you can do to make them happy.  Training?  New computer for home?  Gym membership?  Time off?  Whatever they ask for (if it's reasonable), find a way to do it.

You success depends on these people's brains and their brains will be more productive if they're happy (and if they stay with your company).

Boofus McGoofus
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"To say as you are  saying that being paid and requiring pay incentives as a precondition to working for others means that one does shoddy work is crapola of the most sublime variety."

Except.... that's actually *not* what I was saying.  I said that people should be paid fairly.  My main point is that money is not the only factor.  Your first post about professionals being defined by seeking cold hard cash just gave off a wrong impression, but your last post indicates that you do understand there is more than just high salary that makes a programmer good.  That's all I was shooting for.

"That's well and good, but it does not give you the breathing room to really focus on your craft and do well because you are always hustling to get by."

I made this same point earlier.  I said you want people who have a passion about the quality of their work, and then you should pay them enough so that they don't have to be distracted from doing quality work by thinking about how they aren't paid enough.

Sounds like we are on the same page now.

Clay Whipkey
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Well, I don't know about "incentive" pay, but in a business relationship, regular infusions of cash tells me you care. Every time I've been offered incentive pay, I got screwed, but an extra hunk of cash or x$/month that I get to spend as I see fit counts for something. I couldn't care less about some fancy chair for the office or BBQ for home. What I really want is a new doohickey for whatever hobby currently has my attention or whatever home repair is next on the list.

Note that in Canada, just about anything the employer claims as an expense that goes to the employee (including training, in some cases) gets counted as a taxable benefit (I have to pay tax on the thing just as though you gave me cash instead).

Ron Porter
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Timothy, If I worked for you I'd want you to capitalize your "I's".  It's quick, easy and free, plus it gives the people you communicate with the impression that you care enough to press a few extra keystrokes.

chris
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

ah ha!  chrIs, I care, and so henceforth, all I's that I send to you wIll be capItalIzed.

Timothy Flechtner
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

First, I didn't read every post so sorry if I'm regurgitating, it happens.

I think it was B.F. Skinner (the behavioural psychiatrist that made 'skinner' boxes) that established some performance vs. reward basics.

It is interesting that the absolute worst ratio of performance to reward he found was with 'fixed-interval positive reinforcement'. This is your paycheck.

Anyway... on to a useful suggestion, I hope.

Everyone loves to feel useful and intelligent. Depending on personalities, it is probably great to ask them questions you know they can answer. Then act amazed when they do, even though you may not really need/care about the answer.

I'm a young developer so I know these things... :)

Just ask a question. Giving an answer can make someone feel special. Encourage your senior developers to do this with junior developers. It really does matter, especially to younger people who tend to seek validation of their presence in the workforce more.

With tangible rewards, I think it is best to change the reward so that its value cannot be known to those vying for it. This allows for larger incentive to be had from smaller overhead overall.

I would also suggest not rewarding solely performance, but reward based on performance versus perceived potential.

I would advise against negative reinforcement with programmers as a general rule. On the whole, I think many of us are our own worst critics. Even though many of us sport massive egos, our chosen level of narcissism requires an equal level of self-introspect.

As a prize, if my workplace offered a sort of free-work-time that would be awesome. I would love to have some set interval of time that I could observe and just ask our other employees about their jobs so I could then come up with efficiency-improving processes.

For that matter, I would love it if my whole job were like that... Go to a company, observe their business for a month or more. Describe benefits of processes that can be built that would save (wo)man-hours or somehow add value. Then let my boss pick what they want done and I get paid to do it.

Any idea where one can find something like that?

I am Jack's motivation (or lack thereof)
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A time-and-motion man? Hehe, you'd be lucky not to get lynched by the local union...

More seriously, look into something like the term "business process analyst" off the top of my head...

Andrew Cherry
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Does your department have a "library?" Do your programmers spend around $200 per month each  on books keeping current?

Peter
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Kudos for taking the time to think about rewards.
- Days off should be widely appreciated (it does not have to be a lot of days, in my opinion. We were quite pleased when we were offered 5 days off. Two or three days off are nice, if you can choose them).
- Books should be appreciated by people really interested in improving (but this will not cause crazy enthusiasm).

If you are really happy with the way they work, you may ask them what they would like to have (or to suppress) - without promising miracles of course.

Back on the topic, an _unexpected_ bonus can be OK, in my experience. This is quite different from 'incentive pay'.

Pakter
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

> A time-and-motion man? Hehe, you'd be lucky not to get lynched by the local union...

"Time and motion" studies provide data on the extent to which people are being overworked and over-supervised. They are welcomed by unions for use in court cases.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Clay Whipkey, you sound like the type of guy that thinks it's "not professional" to ask how much the recruiter is getting. Ever heard of the term: "sucker?"


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

anon - time and motion studies were also used in industrial settings in the highly unionised UK 70's, to find areas where people were dong jobs in more complex ways than neccesary, and where efficiency savings could be made by changing the processes. This often resulted in a slimming down of the workforce.

There are (Google?) accounts of time and motion studies being actively blocked, and strike action threatened, by unions unhappy at the possibility of redundancies resulting...

Andrew Cherry
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

A great book that discusses, among other things, a solid logical approach to tying incentives directly to performance is this one, from John and Pamela Caspari:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=0471672319

I think that the approach outlined, even though it involves a reward mechanism, is sound and doesn't suffer from the breakdowns seen in other approaches, like those described in the article the OP is referring to.

anonyman
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

If I recall correctly, in the 80s, Tandy would ask potential hires to commit to working there before seeing their salary offer. They wanted employees who believed the company would treat them fairly and compensate accordingly, not people who were there only for the money.

Interested human
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

An idea I just read  about ( in a Tom Clancy Novel of all places) is to have a major player (i.e Vp of IT, someone high in the company hierarchy) take the deserving person/team to lunch.
Look them in the eye and tell them that their hard work is being noticed and appreciated.  Nothing boosts morale more than knowing that your work is having an impact. 

Of course the person making the acknowledgment has to be sincere, any kind of smarmy condensending "praise" will backfire.

Any way, sounds good on paper....

Honu
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

>commit to working there before seeing their salary offer

Once more, the B.S. to imply that if you are programmer, this isn't your job, it's your priestly vocation.

Maybe that was true when computers cost a ton of money, but now I can get programming jollies for $500 at WalMart plus a $15 a month internet connection.

You can bet your ass that the VP that thought that idea up spent weeks negotiating his employment contract.

PS: Haven't heard much from Tandy lately.

confused
Thursday, September 02, 2004

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