What's Your Opinion?

Incentive pay wrong

Editor: Crain's Detroit Business

Regarding Ron Marabate's letter, “State has incentive pay, but it's not using it,” (Letters, Nov. 27): I say “Good!”

I'm a student of W. Edwards Deming's management philosophy, as well as Toyota, Honda and every other Japanese company that is beating our butt. Generally organizations that have incentives have them because they don't know how to manage. They figure that workers need extrinsic motivators because they are slackers and not self-motivated, and if you're a government employee, more so.

In occupational safety, an incentive-pay employer might say, I don't know how to manage and make this place safe, but if you can make it through this minefield without getting hurt, I'll put a little extra in your pay next month.

Thus you have people figuring out ways to beat the system and get the incentives, accidents are covered up and the accident record is low. You are pitting the worker against the system, rather than paying them what they are worth, and having them use their intrinsic motivation to do a good job.

Many talented people actually go into government work because they want to serve.

Bernard Sznaider
Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration consultant (retired)

What do you think?

What's your opinion on incentive and recognition programs? Do you agree or disagree with Bernard? Why?

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