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07/27/2012

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Yep, agree, that as long as the "entitlement" is tied to continued membership in the organization, it has minimum toxic effect. In fact, as long as the enterprise continually maintains or raises its minimum threshold standards for acceptable performance, such "entitlements" merely mirror the performance dynamics that are otherwise reserved to only the top outliers. Higher "normal" expectations justify enhanced benefits for all workers.

That is precisely the reward philosophy of all elite units. The vast majority are well treated as long as their output results fall above the uniformly high expectation level. The very few who manage to excel beyond those daunting "standard" heights tend to vary in identity over time. Those top outliers earn extra recognition as role models and win other extraordinary rewards; they also frequently get accelerated progression opportunities that further enrich their remuneration value proposition, too.

I also agree, but in a slightly different context. Everybody knows that salary budgets are tight, and most understand that the exceptional performers get a bigger slice of the pie. So long as the credibility of the organization to deliver the right rewards to the right people is there, the comp piece will be fine (again, my plug for transparency!). Culture, on the other hand, can be tricky. Sudden change in organizational behavior breeds suspicion among employees. Remember, the unfortunate reality in most companies is lack of trust, and when management all of a sudden starts offering free lunches or installs fuse-ball machines in the break room, when historically such things were unheard of, even the slickest communications are gonna be suspect. Change is a constant in business, and in life. It creates uncertainty and anxiety. Culture, which defines life at work, should be consistent, driven by principles, and well understood. Well developed and well managed cultures serve the basis for company actions. In this context, additional 'perks' to offset skewed salary actions are really unnecessary; people know they are appreciated, there is clarity of purpose, and trust reigns supreme.

Jim:

Point worth noting, that this picture - and the presence of generous workplace perks - does suggest the membership model, which rests heavily on the enterprise's ability to "maintain or raise minimum threshold standards of performance" in order to ultimately keep the entitlement beast at bay.

John:

I love your comments about culture. Yes - it must be consistent, well-communicated and driven by principles. The sudden, unexpected appearance of perks and freebies in a climate dominated by mistrust and obfuscation tends only to raise employee suspicions.

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