How to Effectively Align Your Performance and Rewards

As someone who aims to be an effective organisational leader, do your ever wonder why you have a performance related pay/incentive remuneration scheme? Certainly, if you are one of the nearly 15 million people who have watched "The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us"  that is a question you ought to have been asking yourself. Or is it something you haven’t dared asked yourself, simply because performance related pay is virtually ubiquitous? When nearly every organisation – regardless of type or nature of business – has such a scheme, you would be bucking the trend and possibly damaging your employer brand if you didn’t.  

If that is the case there are still a number of criteria that you should be looking at to ensure that you have performance measures and remuneration and reward structures that optimise organisational performance. When it comes to effective performance measures and rewards you naturally need to ask yourself 3 questions.

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What Is The Future of Work?

With 3 in 10 jobs in the US held by the self-employed and their sub-contractors there is no doubt that the workplace is changing. (Source)  It is hardly surprising then that 2 out of 5 (40%) of people around the world believe that traditional employment “won’t be around in the future.” Thus the most recent issue of Management Today with its feature section on “The Future of Work” makes for interesting reading.

Some of the key points it makes warrant highlighting and further comment.

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Why our approach is all wrong

Bride and Groom - 123rf.com 21173805_sLast Saturday I was privileged to be part of my niece’s wedding. It was a memorable occasion, on a beautiful sun-drenched day with joy, love, and fun extending throughout the day and the late-night dancing and celebration. Sunday, however, was different, despite being just as beautiful a day. It was as though the goodness had gone on honeymoon with the bride and groom, and, the weeks’ of planning and preparations now over, the rest of us were left feeling unfocused, flat and purposeless.

This contrast exemplifies the way our attitudes and expectations shape our experience. Nothing had really changed, yet the world felt different. It is undoubtedly a better place when love is prevalent.

Reflecting on this I started questioning why it takes a wedding to bring out all that latent goodwill, fellowship and friendship. Yes, a wedding is a formal declaration of love and common purpose between two people, but it is merely symbolic. The substance exists without it and, apart from formalising it and providing a legal and/or moral framework for the union, the ceremony intrinsically changes nothing. So why isn’t it more evident in everyday life?

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Meeting the Most Pressing Organisational Challenges

Having written about “the defining issue of our time” last week, it seemed like remarkably good timing that this week PWC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey should come to my attention now. It certainly makes for some interesting reading, not least because:

  • The “defining issue of our time” did not even appear on the list.
  • The insignificant number of HR related issues. In fact only two out of eleven could be said to fit that description: Availability of key skills (# 4 – identified by 72% of participants) and Lack of trust in business (#10 – identified by 55% of participants.) And it could easily be argued that the latter is not an HR issue.

This is not good news for the HR profession. Nor does it appear to be good news for employees either, as it suggests that employee issues are not high on the agenda either. Although employees can take some comfort that 48% of CEOs expected to increase headcount while only 21% expected to reduce headcount, the lack of any clear link to that “defining issue of our time” – creating economic opportunity – has to be a major concern. After all, a root cause of that issue was identified as the replacement of people with robots and the increase use of artificial intelligence (AI).

As previously indicated, I am also inclined to see the potential for job losses as a result of AI and the need to create economic opportunity as the defining issue of our time. You need look no further than the growing youth unemployment in so many countries for evidence of this.  Thus I was extremely concerned by this difference and couldn’t help wondering if it was further evidence of the “paradox of management” and the ingrained attitude of debasing the human aspects of business as a result of considering employees exclusively as costs?

As a result, I decided to take a fresh look at the PWC list, with a view to assessing how many of these issues could be said to be self-inflicted. By that I mean, how many of the critical issues might be the consequence of extended bad business practices. Naturally the results are highly subjective but this is the list I came up with.

PWC CEO concerns vs culpability

Even if you don’t agree, I think you will accept that they are all challenges that will be far easier to meet – or even avoid – if businesses make a greater commitment to their social responsibilities and empower their people to meet them. Here are some of my initial suggestions.

PWC CEO concerns and solutions

I doubt whether the list is exhaustive and it may be contentious, but at least they give a basis for moving forward. Needless to say, it is rooted in the belief that giving greater responsibility to your people; making them more accountable and committed to embedded values and good business practices, is the only way you will ever build the shared values and the culture and the ethos to create a credible brand with loyal customers. The PWC list is indicative of fears that reveal a backlash against real and perceived business malpractice and malfeasance where profit and self-interest have replaced sound commercial and economic thinking and risked killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Unfortunately, self-inflicted or not, the CEO concerns identified are very real threats. Ultimately, we would all suffer if they become reality. Consequentially it is in everyone’s best interest to find a way to ensure that they don’t. Thus, despite the list’s failure to specifically identify “the defining issue,” it is implied by inversion. So, if their concerns are not to come to pass, it is essential to reverse the trend. And the only way to do this is to create greater economic opportunity.

My entire business is based on ideas as to how you could help bring this about. Perhaps we can work together to make it happen. 

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If you like what you have read contact me today for a free 30 minute conversation about how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model can provide the catalyst to help you create an organisational culture of ‘Love at Work’ : one where everyone cares and the business becomes our business, so embracing change and transforming – and sustaining – organisational performance.

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Bay Jordan

Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organisational culture model that helps transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.


Addressing and Mastering “The Issue of Our Time”

It's happening. In the last three weeks alone, Foxconn announced it will replace 60,000 factory workers with robots, a former CEO of McDonald’s said given rising wages, the same would happen throughout their franchises, Walmart announced plans to start testing drones in its warehouses, and Elon Musk predicted fully autonomous car technology would arrive within two years.  

Artifical Intelligence 123rf.com 6383792_sWhether it's worker displacement, the skills gap, youth unemployment, or socio-economic stratification, the impact on society will be staggering. I’ve said it on multiple occasions and believe it even more so every day: creating economic opportunity will be the defining issue of our time.”

Those are the words of Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, taken from his publication of his email to all LinkedIn employees announcing the company’s acquisition by Microsoft. Like Weiner, I am concerned about the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications. Thus I am delighted by his recognition of the phenomenon and its impact. It is undoubtedly the defining issue of our time, not only because of the need to create economic opportunity but because of the dangers inherent in failing to do so effectively. 

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Mastering Change

Cameleon - symbol of natural change 123rf.com 15265487_sChange is not an unnatural phenomenon. On the contrary, it is entirely natural. Life is all about change. Evolution itself is a process of continuous change. Our emergence from primordial mud reveals a permanent push for progress, and, for humans as a species, that drive persists. Continuous improvement is not the organisational phenomenon that we have come to associate with the term. It is the fundamental law of life. It permeates everything we do.

So why do we have so much trouble dealing with change?

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Mastering “The Paradox of Being Human”


The whole conundrum around the struggle between selfishness and selflessness, with its biological roots – or what Simon Sinek calls “The Paradox of Being Human” – gives us so much more to ponder than just the innate conflict between individual and organisational objectives for which I proposed a solution last week.  The biology – summarised again in the table below – is also significant because it suggests happiness or satisfaction is situational and is therefore transient, which implies that “the pursuit of happiness” is a futile exercise: at best a fleeting goal. 

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“The Paradox of Being Human” and Its Implications in Organisations

“The Paradox of Being Human” is how Simon Sinek refers to life’s constant conflict between selfishness and selflessness: between “me” and “we.” We spend our lives vacillating between the two perspectives; zigging towards our own wants and zagging towards pleasing others. Yet our survival depends on our ability to juggle these opposite, apparently mutually-exclusive, demands. And always has.

So much so that, as I wrote last week, humans are biologically programmed for it. The table below illustrates the paradox and provides a succinct summary of this biological balancing.

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Why Employee Engagement Efforts Aren’t More Effective

In his book, “Leaders Eat Last,” Simon Sinek expounds on how the human species has been biologically programmed for survival. He describes the chemical stimulants that the body produces under different circumstances. He identifies 6 different chemical reactions and the situations in which they are produced. These are, briefly, as follows:

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Human Capital Reporting: Breaking the Impasse

A third of FTSE 100 companies are withholding vital workforce related information from their annual reports, including skills challenges and employee turnover. New research from the Valuing your Talent partnership finds that this failure to adequately communicate the value of people to business is creating a clear risk to users of these company reports, such as investors.

That was the opening paragraph to a broadcast email I received from the CIPD this morning. Feeling a flicker of hope, I downloaded the executive summary immediately. Alas, the phrase, “Including skills challenges and employee turnover” should have warned me of the kind of narrow constraints that would dash my hopes. I cannot help feel the report avoids the real issues.

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Meeting the Most Pressing Human Capital Needs

What are executives’ major concerns these days? I was grateful to get a fresh insight recently when I obtained a copy of the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to identify the trends and ascertain:

  1. What are executive management’s most pressing concerns?
  2. To what extent my ‘Every Individual Matters’ model meets those concerns?

And I am happy to report that the answers were extremely satisfying. The trends are a clear barometer of the way that organisations are changing. There was nothing surprising about them or the concerns that are driving them. They are clearly long-term changes and, as such, will reshape the organisation of the future. And my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model goes a long way to addressing nearly all of them. Let me explain why I feel so positive about this.

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