The Unlearning Organization LO10098

Benjamin Compton (
Fri, 20 Sep 1996 20:57:04 -0700

Replying to LO10087 --

GSCHERL wrote:

> I agree with Rol's comments on reward systems. The reward systems
> themselves aren't the problem. A change in reward system will only
> work for a year of so if nothing else changes. It's probably why so
> many different reward systems are in place. Everyone says... this one
> has got to be better than the old one. After a year of two they agree
> its not working so let's revamp again. It's a continuous cycle never
> addressing the real problems in the organization. Far easier to
> revamp a reward system than tackle the challenges that Rol relates:
> > Providing a challenging environment with clear goals, proper tools,
> > a collaborative environment, and a sincere thank you for a job
> > well-done can -- and do -- become the more valued rewards.
> A better (more difficult but in the long term more rewarding) task to
> ask is how can you recreate your environment to do the above. And we
> get back to creating the Learning Organization.
> > If you can say to a new employee that they will learn to do things
> > they never thought they could do, they will succeed and be
> > recognized for it in ways that are gratifying and unexpected, that
> > they will be eminently employable elsewhere in the company or other
> > companies if they work for you for two years, that they will respect
> > their boss, they will enjoy their co-workers, then they will be
> > happy. No question about it.
> How many employees coming into a job is told they will become very
> employable in the company or elsewhere? I've just had another staff
> leave for a new position after getting all the training and
> development he needed here. Since we didn't have a position for him
> to grow into, he had to move companies. He is still very committed to
> our company and will return if the opportunity for his skills and
> growth comes around.

IMO, the reward system cannot create a the togetherness that is vital to
longevity. It can, however, preclude or destroy such togetherness.

BTW -- A colleague of mine just spent a week at Microsoft for a job
interview. Here's a quick summary of their reward system:

First, everyone is ranked. . . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. Your rank doesn't
determine your pay raise, but it does determine how many stock options you
get. And, at Microsoft, stock options are very profitable things to have.
No doubt this creates a competitive environment. I wonder, however, how it
impacts teamwork? Interesting idea, anyway.

Second, they have a forced distribution for their evaluations. They divide
everyone into thirds: Top thirds, middle thirds, and bottom thirds. They
expect people to move between them from evaluation period to evaluation
period, but it probably isn't a very good idea to camp out in the bottom
third for more than one or two evaluation periods (as you'd be invited to
find employment elsewhere).

For what it's worth. . .


Ben Compton The Accidental Learning Group Learning through Literature, Poetry, Music, Drama

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