An “entitlement” means that I have a right to something. I should get what I’m entitled to. There isn’t anything that I need to do.
The problem here though, is that your customers don’t give you any entitlements. We have to earn it, “bring it,” make it happen every single day.
So there’s an inherent train wreck here. Your employees expect more money for the same performance (or maybe even less) – and your customers expect the opposite! (more performance for less money.)
So you’re stuck in the middle.
If I’m an entitled employee, there’s no drama, no excitement to what I’m doing at work and what happens as a result.
Actions and rewards are disconnected. One doesn’t cause or is not linked to the other.
So I’m disengaged. How boring. There’s no life, or unpredictability there.
No heroics or use of ones special abilities, gifts, or talents.
We want people engaged in the fight, engaged in the mission, purpose, duty, of the company, and to fulfill the promise the company represents for its clients. They need to be part of “living the dream” or the idea that the company embodies.
We want people to love their job and their work. But why should I love my job when I’m entitled? My job isn’t a vehicle to a desired end. The result is already mine, so the job and all it entails is a huge inconvenience.
Engaged and entitled really are two ends of a continuum.
The enemy is all that entitlement represents. It drains the very life that your company needs and delivers to its clients.
Where there is entitlement, there is no fulfillment.
We also want people driving results. Why should I drive anything when I’m already entitled to it?
It’s already mine . . . so give it to me!
Pay-for-Performance Undercuts Entitlement
Having Gainsharing type pay-for-performance undercuts the conditions that entitlement needs to take root and grow. You have to plan in advance, make it happen, deal with the difficulties and somehow find a way to make the performance happen.
(1) Changes with Performance
Variable pay fights entitlement, because it changes with performance.
If you slack off, the results fade away. You shouldn’t expect anything just because of who you are or greater seniority. And you need to keep making it happen. When you stop “pedaling the bicycle,” you slow down.
(2) Understand “What Leads to What”
Entitlement takes root when people get things they like (rewards) and don’t clearly see the causal link to what they did to get them.
Year-end bonuses often have this problem.
That is, people may have received them for years. Over time, people begin to think of the bonus as part of their pay. They expect it. They feel entitled to it. Their sentiment becomes, “You don’t need to do anything special to get the bonus. You just need to be here when it happens.”
Like snow falling in Minneapolis in the winter.
You don’t need to cause it to happen. You just need to be there when it happens.
So your year-end bonus isn’t driving anything.
An effective pay-for-performance system like Gainsharing drives an increased understanding of “what leads to what.” Each shift, each week, management and workers put their plans together regarding what needs to happen to get to bonus level performance.
People are genuinely driven to figure out “what leads to what.” It becomes a seductive game. It pulls them in. They end up driving performance for it’s own sake. They drive performance because they want to. And then when the bonus comes, it increases the momentum to do it again.
Aligns Employee Mindset with Customers Expectations
Pay-for-performance aligns your employees with the expectations by your customers that you’ll “make it happen” every time.
Your Gainsharing pay-for-performance system is in alignment with the pay-for-performance realities your Company faces. Your customers pay you for the value they receive. Not for your efforts.
This drives greater focus on what your customers really want from you, and why they give you their business.
Do your current company systems foster an entitlement mentality?
Do people see the link between what they do and the rewards they receive? Or do they think of the performance more in terms of the hours they’ve put in (or years of seniority they have)?
List the areas where you think an entitlement attitude could arise in your Company.
Consider ways that you could establish true Gainsharing type pay-for-performance to link actions, desired results and rewards more directly.
To learn more about Gainsharing and how it applies in your Company, take a look at our free videos and request a free copy of our Executive Gainsharing Briefing DVD. Or visit us online at www.gainsharing.com.
Dr. Charles DeBettignies is President of Gainsharing Inc., a firm specializing in Gainsharing Systems, and offering information, design and implementation assistance. Are you interested in Gainsharing, but have questions about how it would be applied specifically in your Company? If so, give us a call at 317-371-1021. We have a special, limited time offer to discuss with you.