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Study notes

Performance-related pay

  • Levels: GCSE, AS
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Performance-related pay is a financial reward to employees whose work is considered to have reached a required standard, and/or above average.

Performance related pay is generally used where employee performance cannot be appropriately measured in terms of output produced or sales achieved.

Whilst the detail of real performance-related schemes varies from business to business, there are several common features:

  • Individual performance is reviewed regularly (usually once per year) against agreed objectives or performance standards. This is the performance appraisal
  • At the end of the appraisal, employees are categorised into performance groups – which determine what the reward will be
  • The method of reward will vary, but traditionally it involves a cash bonus and/or increase in wage rate or salary

Performance-related pay has grown widely in recent years – particularly in the public sector. This is part of a movement towards rewarding individual performance which reflects individual circumstances.

There are several problems with performance-related pay:

  • There may be disputes about how performance is measured and whether an employee has done enough to be rewarded
  • Rewarding employees individually does very little to encourage teamwork
There is doubt about whether performance-related pay actually does anything to motivate employees. This may be because the performance element is usually only a small percentage of total pay

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