Thursday, July 20, 2006

Is Compelling Work Really Better than Great Comp?

I read an article recently from Dialog NewsEdge about compelling work being more critical to job satisfaction than comp. In fact, I see a lot of these articles and see several potential pitfalls in taking this information at face value. The article says that Lawyers were asked which areas provide the greatest job satisfaction and they ranked challenging assignments at 42%, Comp at 22%, relationships at 20% and so on…

The challenge I have with this is that they assume a person’s decision making is linear—which it’s not. If it were linear, and challenging work ranked first, then theoretically you could ONLY offer challenging work and NOT offer any pay and people would do it. These surveys are linear in nature. They should ask a series of questions about rewarding/challenging work and level of pay that would keep them there for each increase or decrease in the level of excitement factor of the work. So, I would do a survey that looked like this….

Please Rank in order of interest which career you would most likely be attracted to: (0 being least important or 5 being most important)

The most exciting work in the world and NO pay
0 1 2 3 4 5

Very exciting work and 20K per year
0 1 2 3 4 5


I would of course word these differently but you would eventually get to where the threshold was. Then you would have better understanding of what the trade off is instead of just knowing that people want exciting work before they think about pay—you would have the correlation between exciting work and pay. From the survey below it assumes that comp plays into 22% of a person’s decision to take a job (ASSUMES). BUT—a lot of people might say that It’s 100% of the job first, then it’s 80% comp between all of the most exciting jobs. This is the information that will give an organization competitive advantage if you ask me. It also takes into account that human decision making is not typically linear.

1 comment:

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