Bonus plans

For most of my professional life, I’ve been part of my company’s bonus plan. And for most of my professional life, I’ve found it frustrating and confusing.

Nearly every year, for the past 20 years, I get asked to think of bonus goals that are above and beyond my job description and the company’s goals. And for exactly that long, I’d sit and try and figure out what I wouldn’t try to accomplish anyway that I might try and accomplish above and beyond my job description.

Now, there’s job description, as it’s written, and job description, as in how I perceive it.

I look at my job as anything it takes to make my company and the people around me successful. If that’s leading a strategic planning session to determine goals and roadmaps, I’m there. If it’s getting lunch for people who are working overtime to get a project completed, I’ll do it. Point being, whether it’s high level strategy work or running errands, I’ll do whatever it takes to get something done.

No job is too great, and no job is too small. If there’s one thing I learned from my Mom (and there’s lots), it’s that you do whatever it takes to get a job done.

And when that is your mindset, it’s hard to come up with a list of three-to-five things you plan to do on top of what you are otherwise planning to do. I’m planning on determining and/or following the company strategies and directions and do everything I can to make them reality.

There is no beyond that. That’s it. You can’t go beyond that.

If a company wants to give me a bonus plan, that’s fine. But to me, bonus plans seem to assume that I otherwise wouldn’t give a company everything I had. If I sign on, then they’re going to get it all.

I guess if there needs to be a bonus plan, it’d be great if it were simply a percentage of the profit. If we do well, let’s share it. If we don’t, no bonus.

If I could, we’d take the bonus plans out of the mix and just pay and give raises, with more discipline, according to the value of the employee to the company.

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