Thursday, October 10, 2013

Changing The Bonus Structure

We talk a lot here at the Astron World of HR blog about rewards and compensation--and a lot of times we try to bring up something other than a straight monetary reward. Sure, cash is great but it's not always in great abundance (especially in this economic environment) and even it if is, it's not always the best tool to motivate for future performance. So what else is there? Well Harvard Business School's blog (and one of the researchers is a former classmate of mine) takes a look at the bonus they say that employees really want--even if they don't know it yet.

Instead of just giving a nice paycheck to employees when they do well, the article suggests, instead that you take that money, give it to the employee, but give the sole caveat that they spend it on prosocial actions towards charities and co-workers. It sounds a little out there (especially since the money is obviously there and the employees may find it strange they have to use it on others if they "earned" it), but there is case evidence to back it up and the article concludes:
Nowadays, people spend more and more time at work, yet less than half of working Americans report being happy with their jobs. Maybe it is time to be creative with the rewards and switch from a self-centered to an altruistic paradigm. Rather than spending a significant amount of time wondering about the big holiday bonus, what if your employees spent some time figuring out how their donations can impact the world, or what kind of gift will make their co-workers happy? 

Maybe then money can be a path to spreading happiness and productivity in the workplace.
Think about it in your organization. If you're not getting the results you desire from a purely traditional bonus compensation standpoint, maybe it's time to look outside the box and see if an altruistic approach to bonuses may be a way to change the culture and the mindset of your employees

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