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Incentives - What is their role in improving performance?
22 June 2017


Executive pay, its perceived excesses, governance and future development have been the subject of much reporting and debate over the last years – to which PARC has obviously contributed. But it sometimes seems as though this is the only aspect of reward getting any airtime.

PARC last looked comprehensively at incentive reward in 2010, and it now seems the right time to revisit what is happening in the world of incentives more generally. Where does the debate about the rights and wrongs of incentive structures stand now, and do we really understand what works and why – or why not? And where are we heading?

A short research report will seek to answer those questions, and also look at the following themes:

• Are there any new trends in incentives being explored for different groups of staff
e.g. support staff, sales, and others?

• What are the relative roles of incentives for teams and for individuals?

• Pay-for-performance is still a concern for executives – is this the case elsewhere in the organisation, and what are companies doing about it? Is the definition of performance clear anyway?

• Have incentive plans made a difference to the attraction and retention of talent, and has there been any link to engagement?

• Are incentive plans becoming simpler for clarity and focus or more complex to cover more situations? How flexible can they be to cope with a more volatile business landscape?

• How significant are the moves in some sectors (e.g. asset managers) to reject incentive schemes and return to simple salary structures, citing the lack of evidence that incentives enhance performance?

• Are we taking enough account of developments in neuroscience that could frame the way we look at incentives, or are we just tweaking the same set of themes?

• And last, but not least, what are the unintended consequences of actions that have been taken in incentives practice?

Our meeting will discuss and debate the issues raised, and feature contributions and inputs from a number of people with different perspectives.


Please let us know what you thought about the meeting, so we can continue to improve!

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