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Yes, but can't really share any proprietary secret details. When your critical "market" is your internal talent, they are the ones upon whom you properly focus. The ideal individually-appropriate care and feeding of those human "resources" always calls for far more personalized treatment than standardized bureaucratic programs typically permit. It is a lot easier to retain highly engaged talent when the enterprise is a small elite team with the organizational flexibility to accommodate any reasonable request regarding pay, perquisites, benefits, work location, virtual offices, assignments and personally-directed projects, among other things. Everyone can have whatever unique "deal" that is most reinforcing to their personal motivations and work-life needs, unconstrained by any arbitrary universal rules.

Not surprised that the Navy has thus successfully pioneered the broad systematic application of that logic. They have always been on the cutting edge of HR innovation in the uniformed forces.

I love the idea of putting hard to fill roles up for auction but... the main selection criteria is to pick the cheapest person? That seems a bit unfair - if you want to get into a new line of work you have to try to underbid everyone to be considered.

In case anyone missed this news, this is exactly how things work in a "buyers" labor market, as we have today. Many (not all, of course) employers are looking to hire as cheaply as possible, and the hiring process becomes one of "lowest bidder gets the job". This is short-sighted in a variety of ways, but many employers frankly don't care. The question becomes, how to we get them to care?


I get your concern. I don't know details about the program beyond the two paragraphs shared here; I like the overall concept, but (as we know) the devil can be in the details. We all know that job fit is ultimately about more than minimal qualifications and asking salary - and it isn't clear the extent to which the Navy system probes or assesses fit beyond these "black and white" elements.


Same point as above, I guess. I think we (the three of us) are in agreement that the cheapest possible hire is not always the best hire - for the employer or the employee. Without knowing more about the Navy system, it's difficult to ascertain whether it is simply a case of "lowest bidder gets the job" or whether the process has more nuances and elements than that. It may not.

At any rate, I still like the idea of employee choice and self-determination, and I like the idea of the job auction. It would be interesting to find out what other similar experiments are going on out there in the world - and where they've been successful ... or not.

Thanks for the comments!

I found an article I read two years ago about a construction company that was letting its management team select their mix of base/variable:


It's pretty interesting when you think about it - many employees are ultimately making these same kinds of decisions, but too often they have to actually switch companies to get the different rewards that they've decided are currently important (i.e. going to a start-up for stock options and taking a lower base). If companies are concerned about retention, this would be an option to consider.


Thanks for sharing the link and your comments here - interesting article.

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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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