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Paying for Performance: The 1 Strategy That Motivates Both High and Low Performers

It’s easy to identify a disengaged employee, right? Missing KPIs, absent-minded behavior, even apathy or outright hostility might indicate an employee who’s not engaged.

While these are some common markers of trouble, you might not have any signs at all.

A high-performing employee does not necessarily equal an engaged worker. Their ability to exceed expectations doesn’t guarantee he or she is invested in the culture or driving the mission of your company.

Do your engagement efforts make any impact on your top talent? Many companies overlook a tactic that can spur both high-performing and low-performing employees toward increased engagement.

Hiding in plain sight

In the wide world of engagement practices, you have myriad options to choose from – so many that it can often feel overwhelming:

  • Should you conduct more surveys?
  • Encourage stay interviews?
  • Invest more in learning and development?
  • Consider increasing benefit options?

An alternative exists that speaks to all types of employees across the board: Pay them.

Pay them more, that is. Implementing elements of a pay-for-performance strategy indicates to everyone – from high performers to those just warming their seats and everyone in between – that your company believes in recognizing and rewarding good work.

Take the money and stay

While throwing money at a problem often isn’t the solution, it’s clear employees’ financial compensation is an important part of their job satisfaction.

61 percent of employees want to be paid more

The Society for Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey found 61% of employees consider compensation as “very important” to their job satisfaction; however, only 26% of those employees were “very satisfied” with their current compensation.

60 percent of employees who felt underpaid planned to leave their current employer

And low compensation does more than create dissatisfied employees. It can drive them away from your business entirely! According to Harvard Business Review, 60% of employees who perceived they were underpaid had intentions to leave their current employer.

Pay for performance is one engagement tactic you can use to pinpoint those employees whose contributions are especially crucial to your organization, and acknowledge those contributions in a meaningful way that helps retain them.

Best of both worlds

It might seem obvious that pay-for-performance practices can help you engage and retain your top talent. After all, they’ll receive additional compensation for their above-and-beyond output!

Paying for performance can also help invigorate those employees who are merely coasting or might need some help.

In order to implement a pay-for-performance strategy fairly, your organization will need to determine metrics for certain positions and clearly communicate them to employees. That makes it much easier to determine who’s excelling, who’s lagging and what measures can be taken to address poor performance.

To learn more about enacting this practice in your workplace, download our free white paper, Pay for Performance: Inspiring Your Best Employees to Be Happy, Productive and Profitable.