We Need to Rethink the Corporate Reward System
To be fair, it is not only the corporate reward system that needs a rethink. Our whole concept of rewards is based on making others believe they have something to fear or that they lack something. We have not yet reached the point where we truly understand what motivates people because we still believe in treating the symptoms and not the root cause of a symptom.
Our rewards are set up as either, ‘do this or else you won’t get this’ or ‘do this and you will get this’. Most of us would say that only the first is governed by fear and the other is a rewards, carrot, based incentive. In fact, they are both fear based. The first one is based on fear of punishment and the other fear of lack. Rewards are essentially set up as competitions where the winner takes the reward. Competition in of it self is set up to create division and within many rewards systems you are competing against yourself. Division is the antithesis of cohesion, so what we have been doing all along is pitting everybody against each other, wondering why they don’t work as team.
It has been shown time and time again that external rewards, such as money, privileged access, perks, etc. only work for a limited time and have to be constantly enhanced. Yet we never ask ourselves how we could do it differently, we keep coming up with the same solutions; throw money at the problem and it will go away, but it doesn’t. This is why we have ended up in the spiral with people just demanding more and more pay, even in the higher earning brackets, where all the comforts have already been achieved. Despite the increased standard of living people still claim they aren’t happy, why is that? Could it be that we are now evolving past attaching value to external things and are starting to pay attention to our intrinsic values?
We now have a generation of youngsters nicknamed “Millennials” that anyone who isn’t one complains they can’t understand. What is different with this generation, as opposed to the regular griping of the older generation of the younger ones, is that they come into existence with a totally different collective consciousness (not scientifically proven, but shown anecdotally by extrasensory sensitive people and by theories based on old texts and cultures descriptions of our current age). Millennials do not respond the same way to old reward systems, to them it is more important with rewards that helps them evolve. Unfortunately, we have tried to fit this generation into our expectation of them instead of creating fertile ground for them to grow. This has made their upbringing very confusing and thus the higher tendency for this generation to find coping mechanisms in social media or something else. They do try to fit into our corporate rewards systems but they get disparaged quite quickly. I am simplifying the concepts very much here to set up the arguments further down, but, as averages, the concepts test well.
We are all affected by this new collective energy coming in and we are all starting to lack interest in the external reward systems and looking for what feels authentic to us. Keep a person in an environment they lack passion for making them feel less than worthy and they will burn out, whether that is at work, at home, with a hobby, or some other situation. We now know that the old system giving people rewards that have perceived external values is treating the symptoms and not the root cause. They symptoms being lack of motivation, drive, loyalty, etc. We want to treat the core source of these symptoms. This is where you are going to have to dive deep and really get to understand what is the reason someone gets motivated. Below are some suggestions of areas that would motivate someone from a point of their internal desires:
- Self improvement
- Work vs. life balance
We are starting to understand and value ourselves, giving us access to our authentic selves. Our external environment and our creations will have to reflect that authenticity. Anyone unable or unwilling to recognise and value that is going to fail at motivating anyone with that value system.
Caring for those you are looking to reward is a first step. I am not referring to empty statements of concern or agreement with their plight, but actually tuning into their energy and truly knowing them and what drives and challenges them. This level of recognition requires a fair amount of courage as you may feel that you are getting invested. Once you have your boundaries set for this new style of relationship you’ll understand you don’t get invested just because you have a deep understanding of someone, unless you decided that is what you want of course.
Secondly, you build up a reward system that appeals to the individuals based on how you know them. You of course need to find a balance of fairness between individuals, but since one person might not see a value in another one’s reward since they are personalised, this should not be a big obstacle.
You are now working on a deeper level of motivation and will find you are reaching your desired results with people that are more passionate and dedicated because you genuinely cared and provided rewards that were of true value to the individual. You aren’t just putting plasters (band aids) on the problems, you are solving the root cause eradicating the problem all together.
This, my friend, is a reward system that has longevity and will foster an environment that the right people are drawn to, making recruitment easier, creating a closer knit group, and a plethora of other benefits that you get for free.
You attract things and experiences that match the vibration you emanate and group energy is no different and it is your responsibility to calibrate that collective energy.
Also published on Medium.