Incentives Reward In Tough Times

Performance reviews aren?t what they used to be. The possibility of a promotion or at least a raise once eased the anxiety of being evaluated and took the sting out of constructive criticism.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

September 6, 2002

4 Min Read

Performance reviews aren't what they used to be. The possibility of a promotion or at least a raise once eased the anxiety of being evaluated and took the sting out of constructive criticism. Yet with companies and entire industries snared in an economic crunch, opportunities seem less prevalent and substantial raises can't be expected anytime soon.

Bonuses and incentives remain a vital way of maintaining employee morale, acknowledging a job well done, and retaining needed job skills. In fact, IT staffers and managers rely on certain incentives that help replenish lost retirement savings hit hard by the confidence-sapped stock market.

Performance EnhancersIn the past 12 months, 9,235 of the 10,109 IT professionals interviewed by InformationWeek Research for its 2002 National IT Salary Survey study say that they received a bonus of some sort. A quarter of staff and managers say they're enrolled in a company stock-purchase plan, while a quarter of staff and nearly a third of managers were awarded stock options in the last 12 months.

Company-paid health benefits and 401(k) matches are the most common perks given to IT professionals, and educational opportunities are commonplace. While financial constraints have left little room for job growth or increased earnings, half of the IT staffers and managers report furthering their education using company-backed training initiatives. A third of IT professionals took advantage of tuition-reimbursement opportunities in the last 12 months, while one in five received certification reimbursement.

What bonuses are you banking on in 2002? Let us know at the address below.

Tischelle George
Associate Editor
[email protected]

Staff Incentives Skills Don't Translate
Not too long ago, IT workers called the shots when it came to an acceptable salary and employer. How times have changed. IT just isn't thought of as being as safe a career choice as it once was.

It's still not clear how unemployment will pan out for the rest of 2002, but one thing is clear. Technology has been one of the hardest- hit industries and job functions. Out of the study's full 10,109 technology professionals, 4% are unemployed.

Although certain job skills dealing with security and data management are still in demand despite the down economy, hot job skills don't necessarily reap the rewards they once did. Only 2% of the 5,174 IT workers who received a bonus in the past 12 months say that the bonus was for in-demand skills. In all, 34% of staff and 25% of managers who were given bonuses in the last year don't know why they received them.

Manager Rewards Goal Oriented
Despite ongoing budget tightening, IT projects continue to get pushed through. Speed to market has always been a priority for companies looking to be competitive, but the business climate has put added pressure on managers to complete projects faster and more cost-effectively. While this task isn't easy, those who can meet these expectations reap the rewards. For some executives, acknowledgement is appearing in their pay packages. Of the 4,061 IT managers who received bonuses in the past 12 months, 15% report receiving one for completion of a project milestone.

Worker Expectations Health Directives
Not all company-backed rewards are centered on investment opportunities or employee training. Some are built around health concerns. After all, a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce. So companies are getting workers out from behind their desks and into exercise programs. And they're not playing favorites when making health-club memberships available to employees. About 11% of 5,174 IT workers say gym membership is a perk they expect from employers in the next 12 months; 11% of 4,601 IT executives surveyed say company-paid gym memberships will be available to them, too.

Managerial Prospects Home Advantage
The line between work and home is quickly becoming eradicated, thanks in part to technology. For managers, being stuck at work no longer means toiling long and hard in the corner office. It can mean slaving away at home, especially as companies outfit executives with the tools necessary to extend their workday or escape the interruptions of the office by working from home. Almost two in five managers interviewed by InformationWeek Research expect job perks in the next 12 months to include a home office outfitted with company-paid phone, fax, cable modem, or DSL service.

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