Friday, January 17, 2014

The Research EKU Should Consider When Motivating Faculty and Staff through Salary

I read Daniel Pink's Drive about a year ago and found it to be both interesting, and germane to ongoing discussions at EKU. Then last week, I came across this really cool research-based animated video that sums it all up in ten minutes. Nice.

Quick Takeaways from Daniel Pink's, Drive
  • People are not as manipulable as one might think.
  • The old adage that if you reward something you get more of the behavior, but if you punish something you get less of it, doesn't actually hold up in many cases.
  • As long as the task only requires mechanical skills (like factory piece work) bonuses work as expected.
  • But where cognitive work is required, the larger the reward, the poorer the performance.
  • Higher Education is not piece work, and therefore, universities should expect that merit pay will actually DECREASE performance.
  • What does work is paying people enough, which takes money off the table, and focuses people's attention on their purpose.
Implications for EKU?
  • Move away from a three-tiered pay structure (base, equity/anti-compression, and merit) to a two-tiered system (base, equity/anti-compression).
  • The additional funds will help shore up the overall adequacy of salaries.
  • Another thought (not from Pink): Rather than suffering prolonged anxiety over the unavoidable human responses to equity adjustments, Chairs and Deans should construct market-based target salaries for various classes of professors, and only then begin to match personnel with those target levels. Work toward achieving those targets over a few years.
(Back to Pink) Three factors lead to better performance and personal satisfaction:
  • Autonomy - desire to be self-directed 
  • Mastery - the urge to get better at something (challenge and making a contribution to something worthwhile) 
  • Purpose - People often work many hours for free if they find meaning in their work.  

When Profit Motive becomes unmoored from the Purpose Motive, bad things happen.

If we treat creative people like people, and not mules to be driven, we have a chance to make our corner of the world better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well any salary increases are going to be token in nature no matter how you slice it. I do worry that, like K-12, there appears to be creeping enrochment on autonomy, as marketability frames of e-courses and increased enrollment/retention become emphasized even more so.