High Bar or No Bar

The Economist, May 25th 2013

Free Exchange:  Making Pay Work

Why bosses should be careful when using performance-related pay:

“Of all a firm’s inputs, its workers’ effort is perhaps the oddest.  It is as vital as land, factories or machines, but much harder to control.  It is often impossible even to measure.  A manager can gauge the firm’s output, but not the effort people put in, beyond crude gauges such as the time they spend on the job. Employees have the informational edge, knowing their own effort, output and skill level.  This asymmetry makes it hard for managers to distinguish, for instance, between the low-skilled but diligent and the skilled but lazy. Monitoring schemes to reward hard-working employees and punish slackers can boost effort, but they can backfire badly, too…

High bar or no bar:

…In economics opting for the middle ground is usually best.  But in this case the extremes seem to be a better choice:  monitor hard, or do not monitor at all.  A little bit of monitoring only annoys the good workers, causing them to slacken off.  And sometimes the wisest thing is just to let people get on with the job.”

Please look at previous posts or http://www.sports idioms for the idiom, high bar.



3 Responses to “High Bar or No Bar”

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