I continue about motivation… Namely, I propose to deal with the opportunity/possibility and necessity (!) to standardize basic components of motivation system:
- Remuneration and compensation system – a firm’s STANDARD.
As the British would say, «take it or leave it». The main standard of a multi-component system should include:
— Career ladder (description of career stages and basic rules of the up-the-ladder promotion, ie career growth);
— Salary grades (salary fringes for different staff categories) and corresponding hourly rates;
— Policy on awards and bonuses;
— Policy on compensation, benefits, extra payments, etc.
These policies should be formalized and approved. The compliance ensures internal operating procedure, on the one hand, and prevents employees’ demotivation due to the lack of transparency, unpredictability and randomness of decisions made on employees’ remuneration and promotion on the career ladder, on the other hand.
- System of employees’ competencies assessment and career growth planning– it’s an individual contract with an employee within a firm’s standardized procedures.
In practice, this means that employees receive regular feedback on their compliance with a firm’ standards and on necessary steps for further career growth within the existing system.
The first systemic discussion of the issue is, surely, a summary on an employee’s probation period. It is not a secret that hiring a new employee is, more or less, a compromise, an opportunity to look at the potential employee in action. At the end of the probation period, to confine by merely «everything is OK, you suit us» means a rather serious depreciation, because does not explain to the employee, what exactly was done well in this period, and what else should be upgraded to fully comply with the standards adopted by the firm.
Likewise, the process of staff annual assessment should be approached — a frank discussion of why the employee is ready to move up the career ladder at the moment, or what still lacks for this career growth, would motivate the employee to personal and professional growth.Certainly, I do not exclude a situation, in which an employee might not agree with the firm’s proposed vision, and might decide to leave the firm (i.e., change the system). This is an individual decision; it should not be frustrating (that happens very often – an employee’s resigning might be painfully perceived by partners, and be almost accepted as a personal betrayal). Let’s face it: a systematic approach towards an employee’s professional relevance to the position is the key ground for the sustainability of provided services’ quality.
The price for desire to please «a proven employee» by awarding with one more «star on the shoulder straps» can be in demotivation of the others and in problems with clients.
Either fortunately or unfortunately, in legal business it is impossible to simply and passively «incubate»the career. Moving from a junior associate up to a partner requires constant work on oneself — it is the responsibility of an employee to accept it or not; employees themselves decide; to change the mind is also a part of their rights.
A firm’s responsibility in this case to keep a systematic, open and transparent dialogue on the themes: «what is good; where we are at the moment on this way; and, what still needs to be worked up to achieve the goal».
An important part of a firm’s responsibility is also tracking the relevance of standards to internal needs, environmental realities and competitive ability of this system on the market.
I cannot also ignore the fact that there is one more important external factor influencing the firm’s employees’ career development – I’d call it «economic feasibility». Particularly this factor comes to the fore, when an employee’s competency assessment shows his/her commitment to the promotion, but the firm’s economy cannot «digest»/allow that at the moment. Currently, I only designate the presence of this factor in making personnel decisions without further deepening into this perspective.
To be continued … We still have to learn and understand this very strange «motivation»:)