Salary Incentives For Knowledge Workers.
The highest bidders will not necessarily be the ones who recruit and retain the best and most talented knowledge workers, according to Ryn Melberg on her weekly podcast, The Guardian (http://rynmelberg.com/2016/04/knowledge-working-salary-and-incentives/). The Guardian Podcast is the only program of its type anywhere. When it comes to knowledge workers more money will actually degrade performance.
The view that money is not the answer to all recruiting and performance issues in the workplace is counterintuitive to many. “What we find is that knowledge workers want a competitive wage that is comparable across the board,” Ryn told her audience. “But what the knowledge worker also requires is the autonomy to do their work the way they believe it should be done. Knowledge workers do not want to be micromanaged.” Ryn further states that in addition to autonomy, knowledge workers also desire mastery and a good reason for what they are asked to do in the workplace.
According to Ryn it is also important for knowledge workers to understand the importance of what they are asked to do in the workplace. “A key difference between knowledge workers and industrial workers is that the former uses critical thinking and decision making capability and will never be happy in a role where they simply follow orders,” Ryn said. “This is a critical piece of what helps to motivate the knowledge worker; to achieve something meaningful beyond a pay check, or bonus.”
According to Ryn there are times when managing knowledge workers is similar to raising children in that rewards need to be closely tied to the time completion the task is completed. “If leaders want the bonus or reward to be meaningful, then give it as close to the time of job completion as possible,” Ryn advised. “Waiting until the end of the quarter or year will effectively remove mental or emotional tie to the award, and no one wants that.”
The most memorable awards are often those that are a shared experience with a team rather than a check or cash. As humans are social creatures finding ways to relate to one another as a teammates and away from the workplace is more welcome than money. “I’ve been on teams that went bowling, to the movies, or on boat rides together as rewards and they were more memorable and meaningful on an emotional level than were any of the cash rewards I’ve received,” Melberg said. “American Express has a tradition of awarding trips to its employees and I know of one employer that sent his team to Hawaii, all expenses paid including taxes. That was more memorable than cashing a check will ever be.”