Let’s Shake the Tree

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?

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