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Oh Chuck, you always have good rationale behind this P4P reality, but it is one I intuitively push back on. As you state, in a world of miniscule pay budgets, there is very little room for differentiation according to performance!

A simultaneous reality is that employees in today's job market have choices. Even those 'non-stars' who are doing the on-going, back-breaking, day-to-day work in our organizations may leave if they are not recognized or do not feel valued. True high-performers/ stars/ career climbers often leave regardless of the merit amounts managers manage to scrape together by reducing or denying their 'good' performers increases.

Could there be an alternative--variable pay based on stated objectives/project completions/incentive plans?

Please let's have a discussion around other compensation methods besides P4P. I think while it's a reasonable concept, particularly in 2019-20, it is difficult to execute effectively without alienating the rest of your needed team.

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