Speak Softly and Carry a Big Carrot: Besides that Unimpressive Paycheck, What’s in It for Me?


Barry Maher’s
Filling the Glass Newsletter
Speaking of Real World Tactics, Reality-Based Motivation
February, 2014    Vol. 14  Issue 2


A study at the University of Michigan found that companies with at least partial worker ownership average 1.5 times the profits of traditional companies in their fields.

Give away a piece of the business and everybody makes more.

According to the American Compensation Association, 63 percent of U.S. companies now use incentives, bonuses and other profit sharing arrangements to tie at least part of their workers’ pay to their performance. In 1990, only 15 percent did.

One out of every three businesses offers stock options to employees below the level of executive. There’s even a term for it, growthcos, companies that use options to compensate workers as opposed to stodgecos, old line companies that don’t. Is it possible that we may be developing an entire class of “worker capitalists,” employees who share the risks and share the profits?

Karl Marx would have been delighted. Or appalled, I’m not sure which.

“People aren’t coming to work as factory workers but as business owners,” Michael Stipicevic, plant manager for Unilever’s Cartersville, Georgia plant told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re saying this is my machine, my plant.” Unilever’s “goal-sharing” pay plan has produced a torrent of cost-saving ideas. Half of the first year savings are returned to the workers.

Speak softly and carry a big carrot.

Then too, employees work best when they’re being themselves, when they’re fully committed, and yes, when they’re contributing their own ideas. The average worker supposedly makes 100 unsupervised decisions a day. If they’re looking over their shoulder on every one of them, they’re going to walk into a lot of walls.

Catalyst, a non-profit group that seeks to advance women in business, commissioned a study of business people to discover what was most important to them in a career. At the very top of the list were the emotional benefits, like supportive management, freedom to do the job on their own and control over their output.

Financial compensation is important. But you can’t buy loyalty, enthusiasm, commitment or devotion. You can however earn it.

© Copyright 2014, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada

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