As well as looking for ways to motivate your team as a whole, you also need to look at ways to develop individuals and their jobs.  Conduct a thorough evaluation of all aspects of each job as well as of the organization’s overall system. 

Using Grading System

Your organization may run its job and reward system in a rigid, graded way.  And you may be in a situation where almost all of the factors are outside your control. If that is the case, make the most of the rewards that you are able to distribute.  If you are in a position to make such decisions, remember that grading jobs and their occupants, and assigning to each grade a salary band may be useful.  However, aim to keep the number of grades as small as possible (in extreme cases, a large organization can have a huge number), the pay bands as wide as possible, and the importance to staff of the grading system as low as possible,

Points to Remember

  • The right pay for the right contribution is the perfect pay system.
  • If grades are necessary, they should not be encumbered with bureaucratic rules.
  • If it is possible, people will turn grades to status symbols.
  • Performance must be analyzed from all angles to get a full picture.
  • Job specifications should be clearly defined without being overly restrictive.

Putting the Job First

The key point to remember when evaluating jobs is that the job is more important than the grade, which is merely an administrative convenience. The lure of rising one or two grades may well be motivational, but rules for how many grades staff can advance at any one time, or stating that “a lower grade cannot be the manager of a higher grade”, are nonsensical and unnecessary.

Get the right person in the right job, and make it clear that the grade goes with the job, not vice versa. If you ask someone what their job is, and they reply, “I am an 8”, take corrective measures. 

Designing Jobs

Jobs exist to fill roles.  If you are in the position of designing a job, your first task is to assign and clarify the job’s role and its relationship to the overall task.  Be as clear as possible about what the job entails. Every job has its own skills, necessary knowledge, and attributes, to be sure to specify them.  There may also be certain legal requirements, terms and conditions of service, and other company stipulations with which the job must comply. Finally, remember that jobs and their occupants both need regular modification – and sometimes radical change – over the course of time.

Defining Performance

Part of the process of evaluating an existing job – or defining the ideal for a new job – involves looking at past performance levels and deciding what new qualities or tasks are needed to improve them. Arriving at a single measure of performance is difficult. Financial results are the best all-inclusive measure, but do not rely solely on them, since they will convey the wrong message – that only profits count.

They also neglect to show that good short-term results can be gained through bad management, such as cutting back on investment or understaffing. To measure quality, rather than just quantity, include staff morale, customer satisfaction, inter-team collaboration, and specific project results as measures of performance.

Considering Pay

When staff members are asked what would raise their motivation, many say “More money”, but money has only a short-term motivational effect. Use pay to reflect good performance, and remember that other motivators may be more effective. The key phrase is “individual circumstances”. When you ask a special effort of an individual, however, offering cash reward in return may work well.

Considering Pay Packages

Basic salary rises can dominate pay negotiations. However, wise employers (and wise employees) look at the value of the total package when recruiting and promoting. The other elements, in addition to the basic salary, can be decisive. Share schemes and pension schemes are very attractive, and non-financial benefits can also be valuable.  Ensure that the package you offer compares well with industry and other norms. A competitive pay package can be a highly motivating tool. 



Skills possessed by the individual are essential  to the job in hand

  • Achievement and recognition are key motivators for staff with expert knowledge.
  • Levels of payment are directly related to the amount of demand for specific skills.

Individual as made a significant  contribution  to the project, unit, or organization

  • Staff who produce good work should be highly valued
  • It can be difficult to measure  an individual input
  • A good organization encourages innovation, does not penalize mistakes, and rewards creativity imaginatively.

Work has been of a consistently high standard, enhancing quality of the final product

  • Quality of output is more important than quantity.
  • Payments made on this basis result in increased competitiveness among team members 
  • Achieving quality standards is motivational

Work has been carried out  for a specific number of hours

  • It is difficult to monitor the use of working time.
  • Payment for fixed hours is not an efficient motivator
  • Effort and hours spent  are much  less  important  than individual  expertise  and quality of contribution.

Objectives have been met to the satisfaction of those who commissioned the task.

  • Rewards offered to project leaders are often linked to the success of the project
  • As workloads are increasing divided into tasks, more pay is becoming achievement-based.

Avoiding Secrecy

Secrecy is one factor that makes pay a managerial minefield. Usually, people do not know what other people in a unit – or an organization – earn.  They tend to make wrong guesses, or else they find out and then feel aggrieved by what they discover. Openness is a great way to promote a sense of fairness. People can accept the principle of unequal pay for unequal achievement, but only in an atmosphere of consensus and cohesion. 

Encourage both by ensuring that pay levels are discussed openly and with full information. The feelings involved can be painful and deep, though, so treat perceptions of unfairness accordingly. Be sympathetic with people who feel unfairly paid, even when nothing can or should be done.


  1. Regard grading and similar systems with caution – not as sacred
  2. Pay your staff members for responsibility and contribution, not for seniority and status.
  3. Do not allow job specifications to be perceived as “straitjackets”.
  4. Ensure that jobs offer a wide range of stimulation and variation.
  5. Get the money right, or everything else could easily go wrong.
  6. Watch costs of fringe benefits – unwatched, they tend to soar.
  7. If you are the highest payer, be sure to get the highest results.


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Bernard Taiwo

I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

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Fri Jul 1 , 2022
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