Compensation, Behavior, and Business Growth

I’ve heard it so often stated that compensation drives behavior. It makes obvious sense doesn’t it? Then why do so many businesses overlook this very important fact when designing pay programs?

Three reasons: 1. It’s hard to manage and measure 2. Additional operational expense. 3. An unstated belief that everyone should do the right thing regardless of compensation.

Here is my response to those challenges.: 1. Clearly define outcomes and model it into software and 2. Any task worth doing is worth doing well 3. Some will rise to the occasion, in the short-term, but if this additional workload becomes the norm in the long-term without compensation, then it will only serve to undermine morale.

It is my belief that businesses must take the more challenging path of aligning compensation with desired behavior in order to survive and thrive in the end. An organization that follows this path will likely attract higher quality employees who are motivated by a reward for extra effort. However, more importantly, from a customer’s perspective, this organization will be more desirable to do business with given their better service and focus on satisfaction. These two results – more satisfied employees and happier customers – will most likely enhance the company’s bottom line with more sales and profits.

What do you think?

Memorable Interaction

Quick – Think of the most memorable interactions you have had with a business greater than three years ago. Chances are, a negative experience immediately came to mind. Why? According to this article in Time, there are 2 reasons for this. 1. Survival instincts – touching fire is bad and 2. Strong emotions have a more lasting imprint on your memory. Anger is definitely a strong response, but I would also add disappointment to the list of strong emotional and memorable responses as well. I definitely remember how disappointed I was in Santa for bringing me a “Sit & Spin” for Christmas while he brought my brother the “Big Wheel” I had always wanted.

The point is that since anger and disappointment are so easily etched into our memories and seem to last forever, we have to work doubly hard to make sure that we don’t anger and disappoint our customers. Treat problems as opportunities to do the right thing and avoid being cast aside by your customers. Ignoring customer problems will eventually hit your bottom line, and not in a good way. Let’s not forget that!

A Winning Slogan

I came across this amazing slogan at a Chic-Fil-A in the Mercer Mall in New Jersey. This sign is located just below the ceiling, well above the heads of an unsuspecting public facing employees. Brilliant positioning and brilliant slogan. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the company, they serve chicken sandwiches that are really tasty. The employees are energetic and helpful, something you don’t expect from a fast food restaurant. It’s a great example of promoting and delivering customer excellence.  Do you have any other great samples to share?