With Congress (mostly) in recess and the rest of us getting a chance to catch a breath before our elected representatives return to make any additional, er, progress, I'd like to take this moment to make the case for a total rewards audit of Congress.
The purpose of a total rewards audit, as you know, is to examine the full scope of rewards (financial and non-financial) in light of the key accountabilities and expected performance results of the role as well as the employer's (in this case, the U.S. taxpayers') broad requirements and objectives, to ensure that there is alignment.
In this audit and in the spirit of "total rewards" as we've come to understand it, it will be important to consider all elements of Congressional rewards; not simply salaries and benefits, but the full spectrum of what is provided and made available in exchange for service in the House or Senate. This should include, but not be limited to:
- Power and influence
- Recognition, attention and acknowledgement
- Continued and future employment/service opportunities
Conducting the audit will demand that we develop a deep understanding of the full motivational context of the role of the Congressional representative. This will require asking and getting responses to questions such as:
- What attracts people to service in Congress?
- What causes them to seek re-election and additional terms?
- What motivates them to seek leadership roles in Congress?
- What causes them to end their service, to pass up the opportunity to seek additional terms?
And then, finally, it will be critical to take what we learn in the information gathering steps above and determine:
- What behaviors and outcomes are being driven by the total reward package, overall as well as the various individual elements?
- Are the behaviors and outcomes being driven in alignment with the role's key accountabilities and expected performance results?
- Are the behaviors and outcomes that are being driven in alignment with the long term requirements and objectives of the "employer"?
- Are there misalignments that might be creating the motivation to work and act in ways that are at odds with key accountabilities, expected performance results and/or the requirements and objectives of the employer?
- Are there misalignments that create the motivation to push short term results over long term value and viability? To take risks on behalf of the employer that are out of proportion to the possible benefits?
- What changes to the total reward package, and/or its individual aspects and elements, should be made to strengthen overall alignment and to correct the misalignments, if any, that are discovered?
It's probably just me, but I can't help thinking that such an audit might produce some enlightening and actionable findings. As a member of the collective body of citizens that comprise the employer in this scenario, I think it's high time someone took a closer look.
I mean... where's my Say on Pay and Disclosure of Risk? Where's my Clawback Policy?
Where's MY Pay Czar?
Image: Creative Commons Photo "U.S. Capital" by Cliff1066