Compensation Café

Cafe Classic: Uncertainty Motivates No One

Editor's Note:  Part of our job, if we do it well, is to remove uncertainty and ambiguity from rewards where it can and should be done (and correctly discerning where this is true).  Dan Walter examines this in today's Classic post. Have you ever been asked by an executive or... Read More

Cafe Classic: Hammers, Nails and our Compensation Biases

Editor's Note:  We all have our "best way to fix a compensation problem" biases. We work better (and produce better results) when we are aware of them. It's called the law of the instrument.  The concept is said to have originated with philosopher Abraham Kaplan, who said... Read More

Cafe Classic: Performance Pay for Gig Workers?

Gig platforms are everywhere now. If you need something done, whether it’s a simple microtask or a complete overhaul of your marketing strategy, chances are there’s a gig worker on a platform somewhere that can do it for you. Gig workers aren’t just for small start-ups anymore. In a recent... Read More

Compensation Force

Is the Purpose of Incentives to Motivate People?

Article after article tells us that we should halt our use of incentives because people aren't motivated by money.  Or because they are motivated by money, but to do the wrong things. I can't help feeling that many of them are missing the point. Many of the incentive... Read More

Salary: No Laughing Matter. Or is it?

Humor is a powerful tool.  Wielded well (particularly in a self-deprecating manner), it can help defuse tension, build rapport and boost morale.  But who would have guessed it had particular application to salary management? Apparently a good joke can pay off.  In simulations conducted by Todd... Read More

Ambiguity in Rewards

Is there a clear place and purpose for ambiguity in rewards? In a Board level conversation once, I found myself part of a debate about the need for clarity in executive rewards. On the one hand, I had a chief executive expressing a preference for a more structured and clearly communicated... Read More

Employee Retention: Are You Hard to Leave?

Recent research by global consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggests that employers do not fully understand why employees are leaving. As their article Great Attrition or Great Attraction? The Choice is Yours notes: Companies are struggling to address the problem, and many will continue to... Read More