Awards for Years of Service LO9982

John Constantine (
Sat, 14 Sep 1996 22:10:57 -0700

Replying to LO9938 --

Rachel Silber points out that there are indeed many reasons why
performance based pay, or awards for service of various kinds are frought
with problems. They are fear-based, they are prone to bell-curve
requirements, they are inherently unequal as they are rarely based on
process-metrics, and more often based on judgement by a supervisor.

They are unfair more often than not, since a reward system open to all
employees would of necessity be of very limited standards, able to be
achieved by anyone, and therefore not much of a reward. In fact, the prior
practice of awarding for years of service would serve just as well as any
other if it is fair enough to be achieved by any and all employees.

Worse yet, such fear-based shifts in paradigm are evidence of control
orientation, not systems thinking or process orientation. Thus, metrics if
any will be control metrics, designed to create data which is useful to
the supervisor rather than the employee; designed to control, not to
promote improvement in the system overall. It takes time, energy and
budget funds to carry out this control system, time to analyze and prepare
summaries for the day of the judgement of who did or didn't win or succeed
or beat the others in the bell curve of the company. Wasted time, energy
and budget.

Those who have mastered different levels of expertise in skill areas can
be rewarded. Those who have created something of value can be rewarded.
Those who have "served" in special ways as management can be rewarded.
These can be designed fairly, not in competition but in cooperation with
others, not in suspicion of who didn't do something, but rather trusting
in the inherent value of the employees, enhancing their propensity to
contribute to the overall organization, not withdraw or eventually
sabotage it. There are many performance-based metrics which depend upon
the process orientation, and not depend upon the control of the employees.
But it is often a management which is blind to such possibilities which
seeks to change or shift the paradigm such as in this case. It is a
company in need of help from without, since it is not getting the skill to
manage from within.


Regards, John Constantine Rainbird Management Consulting Santa Fe, NM

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