Understanding Comp Plans

Dan Ariely says you shouldn’t be too specific in your compensation practices because it motivates people to game the system instead of working hard. For example:

A consulting company once told me they made a rule that if you stayed until 8 in the office, you could order food and use the car service to get home. So what happens? A ton of people are there at 8. Nobody’s there at 8:05.

Really? A “ton of people” who probably billed out at $300 per hour were there at 8? At a cost of maybe 30 bucks in food and another 50 for the car service? Sounds like this strategy worked great — as long as you understand that it’s primarily aimed at increasing billable hours. What’s the problem?


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn’t fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation so we can keep on doing the type of journalism that 2018 demands.

Donate Now