Getting paid with money means we have to endure dealing with banks. What are some innovative alternatives to stone-cold cash?
One of the problems with most remuneration is that it comes in the form of money and that means you have to deal with banks.
I was late home thanks to the traffic. Why do they call it rush hour when you can’t? I needed to ring my bank. I said, “I’m going to ring the bank. Be supportive.” Her lips said “no” but her eyes said, “Read my lips.” So I went ahead alone. I managed to get my son off the internet so I could connect the phone. “We didn’t have the internet in my day, or any of your fancy Playstation 3s.”
Back came his retort, “What did you have Dad? Playstation ZERO?” I’d ban him from using the internet but we need the money from his illicit trade in black market knitting patterns.
The TV news in the background told me that a man in Birkenhead was struck by lightning. I ignored the omen and dialled the bank’s 0800 number. 0800 is better than 0900. The TV news runs those 0900 viewer polls. The poll last night had a ‘yes’ vote of seventy eight percent and a ‘no’ vote of twenty percent. Two percent were ‘don’t know.’ These calls are $1.99 a minute! Who rings up and pays $1.99 a minute to vote ‘don’t know’? I am not that proud of my ignorance.
I had to wait a while. Not so much ‘on-line’ banking, as ‘in-line’ banking. I thought back to a customer service conference I attended recently. The keynote speaker must have been good because, well, he was American and had a book published. He wore a black suit with a black tee-shirt and a hairstyle that looked as if it was descended from one of the guys from Crosby, Stills and Nash (but not Young.) He said that banks had their software, not to improve customer service for all customers, but to identify the top value customers and suck up to them. The middling customers would get what they paid for. The bottom non-profitable twenty percent would be actively driven away to their competitors, or better still to a Government-subsidised banking alternative, if only such a thing existed. You can tell your place in this modern food chain by how you are treated by the queuing software. If you want them to answer the phone quicker, don’t complain, give them more of your business. (Remember, whenever you withdraw money from an ATM, say thank you. Those things have cameras…)
Anyways – I spoke to a call centre rep. She empathised proactively. I felt the love. However, she was unable to assist me. I would need to speak with my personal banker. Ooh. I had a personal banker. All I needed was a personal trainer, a personal shopper and a personal lubricant and I could complete the set. She couldn’t put me through to my personal banker. I would have to ring my branch. I rang my branch. The first person would have loved to have helped me but he reiterated that I would have to speak to my personal banker. Ah-ha. I was ahead of him there. I knew that but I did not know who my personal banker was. He told me not to worry. He would look it up, but right now their system was ‘down.’ I knew how it felt. He looked up my personal banker. It turned out to be him. He felt bad and sent me flowers as an apology. I’m allergic. So are my kids.
Maybe there’ll be a Playstation 4 game called ‘Personal Banker’? I hope it’s one of those really violent ones. It will be when I’m finished with it.
Apparently only four percent of the New Zealand money supply is actually paper or metal cash and coins. The rest is electronic pixie dust that only has any value at all because we collectively believe in it. Have a read of the Peter Pan story. Tinkerbell’s existence was threatened because people started to believe less in fairies. So what, if not money, could we collectively choose to believe in? What might remuneration become?
Roman legionnaires used to be paid in salt. The word salary comes from the Latin for salt (but you already knew that.) Pay me in salt, fat and sugar and that’s pretty much two-thirds of what I spend my money on anyway. A lot of people buy things using loyalty scheme points. If you’re looking for a card that accumulates points quickly, I can recommend my driver’s licence.
This blog post , albeit a tad arrogant, makes one good point – that giving someone a raise might be the best way of engaging them. It’s a super close-minded post but they are right in the sense that bleeding heart hugs won’t make anyone into super-productive super-stars if they’re terrified that they’ll miss mortgage payments. They’re working for money, not for love. All those consultants peddling better communication are full of bull.
The blogger is right that money is important, maybe for many the most important influencer. But he’s as wrong as the full-of-bull communication peddlers and for the same reason – focusing on one thing. Local research in New Zealand indicates that the smartest approach is a combination of methods – a smorgasbord. And just like all-you-can-eat buffets, different people have different preferences and even within individuals they change over time. (Although, I will always love scallops! And for some reason, I feel like steak right now…)
Here are some studies that show that reminders about money led consumers to react against people who would normally influence their decisions.
For all the talk and research about the extent to which money motivates people, I’m certain its very important. My personal stance is that people get a job for money but, unless they have a routine, linear and unthinking job, money doesn’t motivate them to do any more or better work. Money gets people to show up and it’s a control mechanism. Calling the carrot or stick of money a motivator is giving it too much credit. And if there’s one thing money doesn’t like, it’s credit.
This article cites Dan Ariely’s research into the effects on monetary incentives on people’s performance and the surprising results. I first heard about this in an online video of Dan Pink’s and he included references to Ariely’s work in his great book ‘Drive.’ You should check out both Pink’s book and Ariely’s ‘Predictably Irrational.’ Impactful research told engagingly.
Broadly, money works fine as a performance incentive in limited situations. For dull, linear, routine processes where ‘more’ productivity is easily produced by ‘more’ effort. The moment any degree of cognitive processing is required at-risk extra money becomes, at best, a distraction. Mostly its impact is negative.
Money is what 70-year-oldd psychologists refer to as a ‘hygiene factor.’ It won’t motivate anyone but the absence of it will demotivate people.
I’m looking at a big pile of absent money right now and it is, indeed, highly demotivating. Oddly though it has motivated me to scribble out a quick blog post. I suspect there is a strong correlation between my blog productivity and money absence.