Pay For Performance
Can You Afford It?

Question: Pay For Performance: "I have some staff members who are doing a fantastic job and deserve a pay rise but I can't afford anything just yet. What else can I do?"

Money is Not the Most Important Factor

There is a fascinating thing about people who do a fantastic job. They are usually not looking for more money.

To a top performer, money, perks, holidays, etc. are not the things that turn them on. In fact, if you have an employee who is actively seeking more of these, watch out. If that’s all that is keeping them in the job, they will leave you at the first sign of another job with more money, perks and holidays!

Pay for performance should originate from actual performance; not simply someone asking for a raise.

In truth, a top performer is motivated by the simple act of achieving results. They actually get a kick out of overcoming the barriers and getting the job done. In the extreme, these people actually look forward to coming to work each day. That’s pretty motivated, isn’t it!

Of course, if your business can support the extra cost of giving your best people a pay rise, go for it. Pay for performance is still a valid action. Don’t think for a minute, however, that this is all that drives them. I know people who choose to stay at a lower pay level than they could command, simply because they are having so much fun in their current job.

Make the Game More Exciting

So, how can you make the “game” more exciting for your best people? How can you make it even more challenging for them? A performer loves a challenge!

For starters, look at expanding their area of responsibility. Don’t overwhelm them. Just consider widening their sphere of influence so they have more challenge to overcome. In this way, their results will not only be bigger, but they will get a greater sense of achievement in overcoming bigger barriers.

You see, for a top performer, it is the achievement of results that is their most fundamental reward. Everything else is secondary. So, if you can increase the value and size of those results, they will feel more rewarded.

See Retaining Employees for more detail on this.

Expand Their Area

How can you expand their area of responsibility?

  • You could get them involved in staff training. If they are so good at their job, they certainly have something to offer to others in your team.
  • You could also get them to help you with future planning for your operation. Once again, if they are producing such good results, they are well qualified to work with you on this. All too often, managers lose touch with the real world and your top performers can keep you real.

The Danger of "Too Easy"

There is something you have to realise. If your top people are really flying, it may be becoming all too easy for them. They get into total control of their area and it all just sails along, like a like racing yacht in perfect sailing weather.

The danger here is that, if you don’t do something to increase the challenge of their job, they will eventually get bored and look around for a something with more meat in it.

A final viewpoint on this question; consider how your operation would survive if you lost one or two of these people you cannot pay more to. If they are really that good, would the cost of losing them be greater than the pay rises?


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