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Very interesting, Ann. Gallup has some interesting research on unions and employee engagement with these findings (quoting from the research):

* 38% of union employees are engaged.
* 45% of non‐union employees are engaged.
* Union workgroups are at the 39th percentile in Gallup's global employee engagement database and have, on average, 6% lower productivity compared to the median.
* Non‐union workgroups are at the 45th percentile in Gallup's global employee engagement
database and are on par with average productivity among all groups in the global database.
* 17% of union workgroups, compared to 22% of non‐union workgroups, are in the top quartile of Gallup's global employee engagement database. Groups in the top quartile are considered best practice.
* 34% of union workgroups, compared to 26% of non‐union workgroups, are in the bottom quartile of Gallup's global employee engagement database. Groups in the bottom quartile are considered low performing ‐‐ not only for engagement, but for business outcomes as well.

Apologies that I do not have a link close to hand. It's from a Sept 2009 Gallup report titled: Employee Engagement & Labor Relations.

Ann, I think you've just inspired my next Compensation Cafe post.

Derek:

Very interesting and thought provoking data. I'm looking forward to your Cafe post!!

As our friend Howard Risher just reminded us, union leader Joe Scanlon invented the pioneer eponymous gainsharing group incentive progam in the 1930s. Group incentives are both instinctive and natural for collective bargaining units. Those who know basic economics know a bankrupt employer supplies few jobs, while a rising tide raises all boats. They, too, want a piece of the action, like everyone else.

Jim:

Great point. Wish someone had been tracking the prevalence of incentive/variable pay all these years so that we could watch the trendline.

"Those who know basic economics" ... seem in short supply these days....

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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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