How do you reward in the 21st century?

Posted on | January 19, 2011 | Comments Off on How do you reward in the 21st century?

I recently watched a  youtube video. It is a talk by Dan Pink that examines recent research. This  contends bonus schemes based on reward and punishment don’t work. You can view it by looking at:

I am wondering, if the most important motivators are not financial but psychological,then what does it mean for the way we reward people and the whole philosophy of employee benefits?

Do we find different incentives outside of bonus schemes, pay grades etc? Do we provide rewards based on the psychological needs ?

According to the U – tube clip there are three motivators that lead to better performance:

  • Autonomy – giving the maximum control to the individual on how they contribute to the organisation.
  • Mastery – presenting challenges where people can learn.
  • Purpose  – having a purpose that inspires.

The current practices of Employers  sometimes contradict these motivations. Many organisations, aware of risks, seek compliance to set procedures or routines.  Along with Roger Cook of Zero3 our contention is whilst compliance is necessary in some organisations, it does not mean that there has to be  a total compliance philosophy.

We believe that there needs to be an approach that has a total reward philosophy. It is not going to be any good in the world of the 21st Century Employment to pay good money but then demotivate staff by not giving them sufficient autonomy, challenge or sense of purpose. Thinking this through it would involve:

  • Paying attention to psychological rewards and training mangers to use these
  • Link financials reward to all the processes in the Company
  • Encourage initiative and creativity
  • Communicate rewards differently
  • Offer rewards that help the employee to master new challenges and also recognise them as individuals
  • Benchmark salaries and,pay midrange basic salary and have less bonuses, but more rewards that are not directly cash based.

 These ideas are clearly contradictory to current practice but may be worth exploring.

Helixhr has psychological approaches,  that can help with these motivators. This is the discovery of purpose and the development of potential/mastery through psychological feedback and coaching and improving teamwork which adds to the purpose of the organisation.  We have teamed up with O3 employee benefits to link these to financial rewards.


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