Pay-for-Performance, The Accountability Solution

August 24 2017 | by Kristi Weierbach, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, FPC

Co-Author| Scott Hursh, CPA, CCIFP, CDA, Managing Principal – Architectural and Engineering Group

This post was originally published by PSMJ Resources, Inc.

Frequently, we meet with executives to discuss the challenges that they face in the day-to-day operation of their firms. By far, the topics that are raised most often are how to enforce compliance with firm policies and procedures and how to successfully attract and retain talent.

It’s All About the Culture

Many professional services firms embrace a collegial mentality; one where it is assumed that everyone is performing their best, fulfilling their responsibilities, and contributing to the firm meeting its goals. However, in most firms, this culture has negative results including a lack of accountability and focus. This leads to overall stagnation and decline, not exactly what you need to grow.

With no system of accountability, the culture of the organization tends to mutate into something undesirable. It’s this type of culture that can be the very thing that prevents an organization from winning the war for talent. The best and brightest talent will migrate to a firm that will recognize and reward their initiative. Those employees who stay will shape to the social norm where behavior reinforces the status quo. Attempts to change the strategic direction and improve profitability will fail because of this entrenched culture.

Why is Accountability so Important?

When employees are held accountable it encourages them to take ownership and pride in their work. Suddenly, you have people that feel a personal investment in the firm. Performance levels increase, and expected results can be achieved. On the other hand, a lack of accountability leads to policies and procedures being ignored and respect and trust tend to diminish, leading to dysfunctional teams. A pay-for-performance program reinforces expectations, separating the high performers from the low performers and adding accountability.

Performance That Leads to Pay

In action, a pay-for-performance program rallies employees around the strategic goals of the organization. It encourages and rewards the desirable behaviors defined by the firm. The firm can measure success objectively and provide an increase in earning potential for employees. Implementing a pay-for-performance program can accelerate growth by focusing energy on and rewarding actions that improve profitability by increasing revenues, reducing costs, and increasing efficiencies.

A well-designed pay-for-performance program doesn’t need to be overly complex and administratively burdensome. However, it’s critically important to design a plan that rewards actions and behaviors that support the strategic goals of the firm, including the identification of metrics to measure progress.

Changing culture is never easy, but it can make a huge contribution to the success of your organization. Implementing a meaningful pay-for-performance program is a key component to adding accountability to any organization.

Stambaugh Ness is a Platinum sponsor of PSMJ’s THRIVE 2017, which takes place October 3-5 in Denver. Are you ready for two high-energy days of inspiration, networking, and fun? THRIVE 2017 is your chance to learn, to network, and to get an eye-opening perspective on what the world’s most successful A/E/C firms are doing right now to thrive. This unique annual event attracts senior-level executives from a wide range of A/E/C organizations located around the world. Registration is now open!

Stambaugh Ness is a Platinum sponsor of PSMJ’s THRIVE 2017, which takes place October 3-5 in Denver. Are you ready for two high-energy days of inspiration, networking, and fun? THRIVE 2017 is your chance to learn, to network, and to get an eye-opening perspective on what the world’s most successful A/E/C firms are doing right now to thrive. This unique annual event attracts senior-level executives from a wide range of A/E/C organizations located around the world. Registration is now open!

2 Comments

John Cornish

I enjoy your newsletters and find valuable information in them. I live and work in the Denver area, so it would be nice to actually meet someone from Stambaugh Ness at the PSMJ Thrive conference coming up here in October. I actually wrote a book for PSMJ in an earlier life and taught construction management classes for them!
At this time of year we don’t have much budget left for conference attendance. Is there any way you know of to get discounted entry?

Best regards,

John Cornish, PE.

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Jessica Cheri

Hi John,
Thank you for reaching out. PSMJ is currently running an Early Bird special saving $200 off the regular price and we have an additional $200 promo code if you use SBN2017 when completing your purchase through their website. If you have any additional questions regarding the conference or Stambaugh Ness’ role at the conference, please feel free to call Heather Zecher at 800.745.8233 she will be able to assist you further.

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