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Jan 15, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

An interesting article in the Huffington Post caught my eye this week.

How do you measure impact of efforts to improve employee satisfaction, engagement and retention? Keep SCORE.

According to the article, SCORE stands for the primary employee concerns in the engagement and employment contract: Stability, Compensation, Opportunity, Responsibility, Environment.

The author contends that far more emphasis should be assigned to the “O-R-E” factors than to the “S-C” factors because “great employees” who are “seasoned team members” care far more about Opportunity, Responsibility, and Environment than they do about Stability and Compensation, which are more the concern of “recent grads just trying to pay the rent and get by.”

Why discount job stability and compensation?

I understand the author’s point, but I don’t think we can so easily discount the importance of job Stability and Compensation to high-performing and high-potential employees.

In Maslow’s terminology, we wouldn’t discount the importance of safety and security factors just because we achieved a level of self-actualization. It’s a continuum constantly interweaving back in on itself, not a linear progression.

I can see the argument that stability and compensation are particularly important to those new to the workforce, but the need for employees to believe they are fairly compensated for the work they do does not diminish throughout a career. Since in this author’s view, recognition and incentives are included in compensation, this is particularly true.

As an executive friend of mine once told me, “I’ve never been promoted to a level where I didn’t want to hear ‘thank you’ for my efforts to help others.

I’ve observed the reverse from the author’s perspective for the need for stability.

Trends seem to show that those who are in the early part of their career tend to job hop more for several reasons – to more rapidly advance their careers, expand their experience horizons, increase their remuneration more quickly, etc. Stability seems to become more of an important factor as other life needs increase, such as balancing the needs of both children and aging parents for those workers who find themselves in the “sandwich generation.”

Creating a SCORE that serves all employees

Regardless, the point is we all need a good SCORE, but the primacy of the various elements of the SCORE likely change on a highly individualized level.

Yes, the factor of “Environment” (defined by the author as “Do I like my peers? Do I feel good working for this company?”) can be important. But it’s certainly not more important to great employees vs those who are more average in performance.

Indeed, work cultures where “individual success at all costs” seems to be more the norm also attract very good employees with a different priority for their own work enjoyment.

The take-away for me is to focus more on creating SCORE cards that serve all employees, allowing for fluctuations in line with individual requirements while balancing the needs of all. As leaders of people, we are responsible for truly knowing our employees and helping them achieve their best work in order to be fulfilled themselves as well as contribute to achieving the company’s goals.

How would you rank the elements of SCORE for importance for yourself? How might that differ from how your own manager or your company leadership might perceive the importance of each factor?

This was originally published at the Compensation Café blog, where you can find a daily dose of caffeinated conversation on everything compensation.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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