April 03, 2006

Until you grow up and get real.

Seth Godin says that money is a demotivator in the workplace -- at least in the form of bonuses. I guess in terms of salary increases too given the lead of his post:

"It's not about the money."

Usually, when people say this, they are lying.

Except, it turns out, at work.

Money, it's been shown time and time again, is a demotivator. I'm not talking about a fair or even generous salary. Being a cheapskate is no way to find a great employee. But once people have joined your team, incremental money--bonuses and the like--usually demotivate people. They demotivate because sooner or later, people feel as though they're being treated unfairly.


Thanks, Seth. What HR department isn't going to hang THIS news on the wall next to the fair labor practices bulletin and minimum wage posters?

Money is the reason most grown-ups work for a living. If creativity and love were all we needed, we wouldn't be working in corporations AT ALL. Most of us would be either relaxing on a tropical island or chasing our dreams and opening animal shelters and orphanages around the world.

I have participated in bonus programs that were well thought-out, fair, and well received. I have also participated in bonus programs that were LAME, funded with pretend money that was never intended to wind up in the savings account or college funds of employees.

With the draw to independent living and work (thank you, Interweb), corporations have to find NEW and BETTER ways to motivate employees to stay -- and that INCLUDES MONEY. Try telling employees with mortgages, families, kids, pets -- in other words, real-world responsibilities -- that the chance to work on a new project should be reward enough and see how fast the revolving door can spin.

People who really and truly love their jobs are in every single industry. And people who do great work because they love their jobs are paid at every salary level. What they have in common is a boss that gives them respect and freedom and responsibility. A boss that listens when they have something to say. Which, not coincidentally, is exactly the way the best companies treat their customers, too.

They also have managers who act as advocates in making sure they are compensated and incented properly.

Do you want to reward creativity? Then tie bonuses to innovation. But don't you dare take the sweat and intellectual flesh of your employees, pat them on the head, give them a plaque with a flaming torch on it and call it a day.

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Mad Kane said...

When you're as rich and successful as Seth Godin, that's rather easy to say. What crapola!
Mad Kane

tom said...

Godin is fetishizing the bossman - the love of the Corporation trounces all other loves, including the crass love that is born of the declasse need of filthy lucre. This is the clean, self-enslaving hard love of White Respect from the guy who drives a Sunday car worth more than your mortgage. This is love of the workplace, of the Gaze of the fellow citizen of the corporate state, which has no citizens, the burning endless gamed homemade shitforbrains give-it-to-me-one-more-time Amurikan Maleasshole. Takes all that respect home and mows his lawn.

Jeneane Sessum said...

AMEN, you've got a witness up in hea!