Rewards and Compensation

People assume that an external manipulator, such as a reward, causes young people to change. As a result, many parents offer children money for doing something they ask. They equate it to earning a salary at work. But remember, salaries in the job marketplace are contractual agreements of compensation for service. They are not bribes to manipulate behavior. When was the last time you looked at your paycheck and thanked your employer for the reward?

Of course, if the compensation were not satisfactory, the person may choose to look elsewhere. As an aside, many studies have shown that “merit pay” is a poor motivator and low on a list of employee priorities. Rewards like these also create more problems than they solve, which is a prime reason they rarely last for any length of time. Merit pay, for example, requires competition between employees. However, collaboration among individuals is more effective for improved efficiency, relationships, and employee morale than competition between individuals—not to be confused with competition between teams.

Although reduced compensation for work can affect motivation, the opposite is not true. Increased compensation does not increase motivation. Answering the following question can assess money as a motivating force: “Would you work harder if you were paid more?” Similarly, “Would you work harder if you were paid as a parent?”

Remember, people change because of a decision to do so. No amount of money will create long-lasting changes in children or adults.