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Dear Workforce How Do We Reward Engineers Working Long Hours

We want to compensate and recognize engineers who work long hours and shift work due to the commissioning and start-up of new plants. We don’t pay overtime at their level, so we want to devise a formal measure of recognition. What kind of recognition scheme is appropriate or is used most often in such cases? And how do we go about developing it?
September 7, 2011
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Related Topics: Recognition, Wages and Hours, Dear Workforce
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Dear Creative Ideas:

You'll have to consider your budget and corporate culture--two determining factors that should guide your reward initiative. Most programs reward employees with money, but you may lack the budget for this. In that case, consider non-cash awards such as vacation time.

Try creating an adjunct rewards system based on the expectations and requirements of the additional work the engineers are taking on. Based on their performance, you could rank engineers and provide a sliding-scale bonus to the participants. As with a performance-based reward system, you won't want to reward individuals at the bottom of the list or those who, although putting in the hours, fail to meet expectations. Employees must fully understand what's required of them, and acknowledge any feedback regarding their performance.

Another alternative bases recognition on one or more criteria. Let's say your criterion is the number of hours or days worked. You would award a flat bonus once the employee reaches a certain threshold of hours or days worked. For example, if Employee A works between 40 and 60 hours, he would receive a $500 bonus or two vacation days.

Another strategy involves paying a flat bonus or vacation time to eligible employees, if all the employees generally put it in the same level of work and/or hours.

Remember that whatever program you implement, the quicker you implement the idea, the better. Delaying implementation for too long once the work is complete only serves to dilute any motivation effect it might have.

One final word: before rewarding your engineers with alternative recognition, first ensure that you won't be required to pay them overtime. If this work differs notably from their regular duties, or if it resembles work that you would regularly pay to overtime-eligible workers, you may be required to pay them overtime. Review the engineers' job description, and compare their shift work with the special duties they are now performing to get plants ready for operation. You may not want to provide other types of recognition if laws require you to pay overtime.

SOURCE: Don Gaile, DMG Consulting, New York City, Sept. 23, 2003.

LEARN MORE: Can Pay For Performance Really Work?

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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