Incentives Don’t Work, Yet We Keep Using Them

We know they don’t work…

The Compensation Times

For those who haven’t read Daniel Pink’s “Drive,” the best-selling book on what really motivates us today, make the time to do so, because it will illustrate to you quite clearly why it is time to stop wasting your precious time and resources on incentive programs that don’t work.  In fact, I’ll give you a challenge — find a legitimate study that shows that they do work consistently in a normal corporate environment — not a case study, or in someone’s dissertation, or in some isolated situation with one company measuring performance over one measurement cycle.  Find a study showing the long-term gains that come from incentives, but more importantly, find a study that shows that the incentive program actually changed long-term behavior.

If you need further evidence, look to World at Work’s recent study “Incentive Pay Practices:Privately Held Companies.”  Among all the findings of how frequently incentive plans are…

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About Edmund B. Ura

Edmund B. Ura, MAIR, JD, works with governing boards, executives and human resources staff to develop methodologies for ensuring fair and equitable compensation programs that support achievement of organizations' missions. Contact Ed at ebura@mercesconsulting.com.
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