What about taking performance-based pay into the trenches? What about paying people by what they produce? Programmers, network managers, database administrators, Web designers and customer service representatives could all make a lot of money exceeding performance metrics for their specific areas of expertise. Or not if they hang up on their customers.
Another true story: I was caught in the Air France strike last year and could not get out of the country. No one called me to tell me that my flight had been cancelled not Air France or American Express which had booked the business trip for me. When I called for help to get home I was told Id have to wait a week or more as I was staring as a screen from Orbitz telling me I could leave Paris in three hours if I really wanted to.
I told the AMEX travel consultant this and she told me that Orbitz could not book my flight home. When I suggested she go to the site, she hung up on me! (So I just booked the trip through Orbitz and got home with no problems.) Should Air France and AMEX get paid well for this performance? Where is the accountability?
Technology lends itself to incentive-based pay because the results of our work can be quantified. But how many of us would live this way?
Heres how it should work:
1.) Everyone should define the metrics you would like to use to determine how much money you make (or dont make) depending on your performance. Be generous here. If you think that you should be paid $25 an hour for mediocre work but $200 for truly excellent work, then you should define the mediocre/excellent continuum with specific performance metrics. If you are a high-level, well paid technology manager then your numbers will be much higher and the ranges much wider.
2.) Hardware, software and service vendors should step up to shared-risk contracting and pure performance-based compensation. (This may be my last column after the vendor community organizes my demise.)
3.) Technology executives especially CIOs and CTOs should be compensated based on how much money they save (without compromising service) and how much money they make with technology.
Do you like this or do you hate this? For it to work it has to be universal: everyone in the organization has to be paid according to their actual performance. Put another way, we should strive to invalidate Woody Allens famous quote: 80% of success in life is just showing up.