Let’s Shake the Tree

I have some posts from the archives that I’d like to share this week.  This post was originally published on December 9, 2008.  Enjoy!

With the new year approaching, what better time to start challenging the status quo, questioning our collective assumptions and looking for a better way to do, well, everything?
So I’m looking to this small (but growing!) cadre of like-minded HR visionaries to start shaking the HR tree and see what comes flying out.  Let’s change the world together.
Here’s one of mine from last week.  In working with a team of recruiters and HR pros, we ended up debating recruiting methods, specifically the offer process.  (Who makes the offer?  Do you allow negotiations?  Who is authorized to do so, and how much?)  At one point, we came around to incentive pay for sales professionals.
I challenged the team as to why we pay commission.  Isn’t it our desire to hold onto our best, and attract the best that we don’t already have?  How do we differentiate ourselves?  I submit that a compensation plan based on a strong base pay with a smaller incentive peice at the top end (and maybe structure more around MBOs than sales dollars) would provide a more stable income and security than a “traditional” approach of most (or all) commission based pay.  Your best people will be driven to succeed regardless of the pay plan (though it is, of course, a factor).  If you can give someone some financial security in these times and they respond by being less invested in their (and your) success, that’s probably the wrong person to have on the team.
This was met, of course, with some eye rolling, some chuckles, and several “But everyone pays on commission!” statements.  And maybe it’s not the right approach, now or ever.  But that’s ok.  I’m more interested in asking the question than knowing the answer.
So, who else is shaking the tree out there, and what’s falling out?


  1. Interesting read from 2008! As I think back over the last two years, I have seen so many examples of tree shaking in the HR world. I’m glad to see that people are beginning to challenge the status quo. Thanks for re-sharing a real life example Dwane. Happy New Year!

    • Trish –

      I’m glad to say that I’ve seen it as well! I think I’m more aware as I’ve ventured further into the world and out of my own sphere of influence. There are some very talented people doing great things out there (and I count you in that group, natch).

      Thanks for helping me break some branches.

  2. Thanks Dwane. I’m all for shaking the tree! As Trish stated, the status quo needs to be challenged to evolve. I still agree with this idea and do think it will help determine who the right team members are. Thanks for sharing the archives!

    • Jen –

      I like the way you say “sharing the archives” instead of “being too lazy to write new material.” It’s flattering.

      Thanks for being part of my world. It’s an honor to be in your circle!

  3. Share archives throughout the year….you always get new readers and they may have missed some of your great stuff.

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