I'm afraid my work's bonus program will backfire.
January 9, 2010 8:44 PM Subscribe
My work now offers bonuses if our performance meets certain (fairly high) standards. I'm concerned this will hurt more than it helps. Are my fears unfounded?
A very basic background, kept vague because I don't want to give any identifying details about my workplace: I work in a job that is not competitive in nature and does not have commission. Accuracy, organization, and attention to detail are very important, but not a literal matter of life and death, and most errors can be fixed. I work with a small team; I get along with my coworkers but we're not super close.
Recently, I learned about a plan we're implementing in which each of us will be eligible for decent-sized cash bonuses if we meet certain goals each month. Pretty cool, right? However, our goal is, in a nutshell, to achieve 100% accuracy each month.
I'm not sure I've ever been 100% accurate at anything. Doing perfect work for an entire month seems to me like a very lofty goal. 95% or 98% I could imagine, but 100% seems close to impossible. I suppose they need to set the bar pretty high so that they aren't giving away tons of money, but I'm sort of pessimistic about ever achieving this.
There are two specific concerns I have about this new plan:
1. I fear that meeting the qualifications for the bonus will turn into a standard expectation - a 37 pieces of flair, third prize is you're fired sort of thing. Like if we're generally doing a good job but only getting 90%, we're underperforming and our jobs might be at risk.
2. I'm worried that this will inhibit and break down collaboration among the team, since each member will be aiming for total accuracy in their own work. In the past we've all helped each other out when needed. One of my coworkers snotted at me recently because I made a minor adjustment to one of his projects, and he wanted to keep his projects under his control for accuracy/bonus-earning purposes. (Someone asked me to do it, and I figured I'd help out instead of passing it on all "not my job.")
Am I overreacting? Are either of the above likely to happen? Has anyone had experience with a situation like this, and how did it turn out? Any advice, anecdotes, or general talking-me-down would help.
Other information: I have been in this position for under six months. I want to stay at this job; quitting is not an option right now. I wouldn't mind meeting with my bosses to discuss these concerns, but I'm sitting on it for the time being to gather my thoughts.