Sins of Commission: Be Careful What You Pay For, You May Get It

Jeffrey made some very great points about being very careful in what kind of system a company is using.  This entire article is all about the systems that are driving the employees, mainly one with incentive programs.  His first story about the dealership pushing away the customer and ultimately losing him was purely a consequence of commission pay.  This is a big issue with commission is that employee behavior will eventually push potential customers away.  The article gives many examples of how incentive programs are inherently flawed and I agree but the big underlying problem is typically in the system.  Systematic problems plague many companies and they try to fix these problems by incorporating incentive programs.  If companies would think outside of the box they might just find the proper solution for their company.
One thing I do like about incentives is that companies use incentives to show and drive the employee to do what the company desires most.  It tells the employee what the company wants out of them and it allow for them to work hard for that goal.  Some instances incentives will just not work, however.  For instance a place where incentive probably won’t work is with teachers, as the article points out.  It’s a joke to try to pay teachers for something that cannot be properly measured.  I think the best way to get the teachers to teach well is a huge systematic problem.  The best way to get good teachers, in my opinion, is to make the profession a higher ranked profession.  This can be done by, for one, paying more for the job and also by making getting a teaching degree a little more difficult than it is.  This will attract the people to be teachers that are choosing not to be because they, in their mind, can achieve a higher degree and ultimately make more money.  I think the system is weeding out the people that would make great teachers.

Incentives may be a quick fix as the article points out, but sooner or later the right system might just be found for that company.  After each change in the programs it takes some amount of time for the employees to find the cracks in the system and even more time for them to exploit these cracks, if they choose to.  Zimmer’s nailed it on the head when he talks about incentives.  He says that they need to be used as a reward for good work.  In my opinion the way to do this is by adjusting the base pay right on the bottom line of what the employee needs.  This will create no pressure to make more money but it will be a reward to the employee to receive them.  Ultimately each company is different and many companies thrive on incentives but the idea is to find what works for your company and constantly examining it to make it a better system.



  1. Savannah Said:

    Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

    • nickhalen Said:

      Sorry it took so long to reply i am still kinda new at this and didn’t even realize that i had a comment. Sorry, but if you do start blogging let me know, if not keep reading 🙂

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