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I agree entirely with the sentiment of your post, but I disagree with one small thing you wrote: that the employment relationship necessarily needs to be economic at its core. While yes many leaders see it as an economic exchange I believe it can be more than that.

Human beings have a natural desire to be a part of something greater, to contribute to a higher purpose and work can satisfy that need. Previously it was institutions such as the Church that filled that role (or even a strong sense of community), but as both of those have waned it created an opportunity for organizations to fill that role. While in generations past work was often dull and repetitive that isn't necessarily true of much of the work done today. At the core of today's exchange between employer and employee we can fulfil not only the low level needs "food, water and shelter" but also higher level needs such as belonging to something bigger and the need to be creatively challenged.

Chris:

Totally agree on our collective inclination and desire to be part of something greater. To some extent, in some organizations, this is a legitimate element of the value proposition offered to employee and it is considered to have "capital" in the same sense that any other part of the package is. On the other hand, the point of my article is to warn organizations to have a care about assuming that they can disregard doing the right thing with base salary just because they are attending to higher level needs.

Thanks for bringing up the point.

Ann

Agreed, you can't do one without the other; it needs to be a concerted effort to address all needs.

Just as a high-rise building or mangnificent cathedral cannot be built on quicksand, a solid compensation foundation is required before those higher level employee value propositions can be activated and met. A starving worker cannot be effectively motivated by status, recognition or intrinsic rewards. Pay is necessary but insufficient by itself. Adequate compensation is the precondition for effective application of higher level aspiration goals.

The reminder is important because the increased current emphasis on non-economic reinforcements can lead to neglect of the foundation element.

Jim:

Exactly my purpose and point - and you said it so succinctly. Thanks!

impact on work energy, motivation and performance. this is powerful stuff and it can have a tremendous

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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