In the above example, the spread between the best and worst performers is a mere 1.5%. In today’s world where companies are fighting to attract and retain top talent, you must be much more aggressive with your merit matrix so that it looks more like this:
In this example, people who don’t perform get no increase. This sends a strong signal to everyone that performance matters and for those who do perform, you will get a serious merit increase. This is one of the most powerful statements any company can make when it comes to retaining the best people. You should also think about the limited money you have to spread around. You want to allocate your limited resources to those people who deliver results. A merit matrix that has distinct differences between low and high performance will do more to communicate and create a culture of high performance than any speech or memo you will issue.
"It is very difficult, but not impossible, to put a price tag on losing key people and their smarts. As if to emphasize the intangible yet dire nature of these costs, some executives were unable to provide a dollar figure, but simply responded 'incalculable' or 'priceless.' So even if you can't quantify the costs of knowledge loss, you might agree that the cost is often a lot, enough that you would like some options to avoid or minimize these costs. Despite the acknowledged threat, a surprising number of organizations are doing nothing or little about it." - Critical Knowledge Tools by Dorothy Leonard, Walter Swap and Gavin Barton
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