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More people should read this post Jim. You have to motivate employees the best you can but in the end, it'll be up to them to decide to perform. Accountability is a lost art sometimes

It was all said long ago in the Harvard Law of Behavior created by B. F. Skinner's grad students: "Under carefully controlled laboratory conditions where all outside influences are monitored and fully controlled, the experimental subject will do as it damn well pleases."

This post doesn't disappoint! There are factors and behaviors that suck the life out of motivation but no one 'owns' it but you.

None the less, compensation programs can have a motivational or demotivational impact on employees. The examples you point to - none of which I take exception to - are all outside the workplace. Yes, we have much more personal responsibility for our life destiny. But a teacher CAN motivate or demotivate. It may not be their (only) responsibility, but they can do it. Just as a parent, or a peer, or a mentor can. The question for a compensation scheme, in my mind, is not whether it should motivate; but rather, whether it can.

Agreed, mostly; but we can't MAKE someone care. All we can do is efficiently tailor our inducements to the motivations of our people. We dangle what we hope are attractive goodies, but they pick and choose, based on their own motivations. Our corporate maternity care coverage does not inspire me due to my age and sex, but other elements of our total reward package are quite attractive to me. Rewards and punishments are essentially subjective.

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