Reward compliance with new age change

DN Staff

June 23, 1997

4 Min Read
Reward compliance with new age change

Just because management wants to adopt a "new age" change program, doesn't mean their managers will automatically follow it.

Often management finds their organization resists such a program, even if the change is rational, important to the organization's continuing success, and well presented. Usually an organization's members resist new programs after management has subjected them to a continuing stream of new "how-to-manage programs," each of which was subsequently replaced by the next one. As a result, managers and their associates have learned to feign acceptance rather than embrace change. Instead, they wait for the current fad to pass while continuing to work more or less as they always had.

Management must convince everyone that the new-age change is not just a passing fad, but that it will redirect the organization to ensure its continued success. One positive way to make such a change is to change the performance measurement and reward system so that it also fully supports the new-age change. People tend to do tasks that are rewarded but avoid those that are not. Appropriate positive rewards encourage team collaboration.

Change the rewards. Rewards come in two basic flavors: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic rewards are those built into the work itself and relate to an employee's higher level needs, such as accomplishment derived from doing a good job, acquiring new knowledge, being on a winning team, and the challenge of the work itself.

The organization dispenses extrinsic rewards, which are specific and should be tied to performance that can be measured. Extrinsic rewards usually have a monetary component. Predictable and frequent rewards directly connected to work behavior result in higher performance levels.

Project application.The goal of every project should be to make money. To do so, the project must meet a number of "necessary conditions," such as scheduled milestones; product performance, cost, or quality; return on investment; and market share. Every change plan should include necessary conditions and the method for measuring them. Objective measurements then determine the employee's/department's level of achievement, which should be recognized with extrinsic rewards. For example, the systems development director for a large bank told me that she hands out $100 checks as immediate recognition. A project reward pool may be set up which is distributed to (or by) the team members.

Generally, extrinsic rewards are short-term and need repeating.

An intrinsic reward system usually takes education, time, and effort to establish but when properly implemented, it can be very effective.

Every organization introducing new-age change should create an appropriate intrinsic/extrinsic reward environment. However, surveys indicate that most organizations talk the talk but don't walk the walk. So anxious are they to begin the change program, that they neglect or postpone creating the supporting intrinsic/extrinsic reward environment. Such inaction will lead the change to failure, as well as reinforce resistance to any future new-age change.

Ask the Manager

Q: I understand that achieving consensus is an important feature of cross-functional team decision-making. What is consensus and how can it be achieved?

A: Consensus does not necessarily indicate 100% agreement by everyone. It does mean that everyone will support the team decision 100%. Because consensus takes time and energy, it should be reserved for important decisions that require a high degree of support by those who will implement them.

To facilitate consensus, make sure you understand the other positions before you argue strongly for your own position. It is not a win/lose situation. When impasses occur, look for an alternative acceptable to everyone. Avoid conflict-reducing techniques like majority vote, averaging, or bargaining. View differences of opinion as both natural and helpful. Try to have all relevant information shared and understood by everyone before the decision is made.

Q: I don't get much physical activity. What are the incentives for making time for regular exercise?

A: You are not alone. About 25% of Americans get no physical activity whatsoever, and 60% more do not get enough.

Reports on the connection between a sedentary lifestyle and illness or disease are frequent and often dire. The recent Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity concluded that the lack of activity is a major nationwide health problem.

The main reason I exercise is that it makes me feel better both physically and emotionally. It gives me more self confidence, relieves stress, and improves my efficiency and effectiveness in all of my other activities. It will likely increase my lifespan as well.

Fax your management questions to Design News at (617) 558-4402 or e-mail your question to [email protected] (Internet).

Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like