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Incentives and Bonuses

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There’s a place in virtually every workplace for meaningful incentives to reward outstanding job performance.

It is why KSL can’t get too worked up about a Legislative Auditor’s report about bonuses given to hundreds of state employees. The rule for offering incentives, after all, was rather vague and made reference merely to so-called “worthy acts.”

Still, as the audit pointed out, in times of severe state budget shortfalls, incentives “must be selective and must reward exceptional effort.”

That hardly happened in some state agencies. At the Department of Human Resource Management, for example, 100 percent of the employees, according to the audit report, received some sort of bonus in the last couple of years. At the State Tax Commission, the figure was 75 percent.

Fortunately, a new rule on incentive programs went into effect July 1. It requires more thorough documentation and review of agency incentive policies.

So, before coming down too harshly on the state’s employees for past indiscretions, let’s see how the new policy works. Let managers in state agencies find appropriate ways to link incentives with superior performance of job-related duties. They shouldn’t let extra pay become merely another entitlement.

In government, as in other workplaces, KSL believes incentives, when properly managed, encourage excellence in addition to being good for employee morale.

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