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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Reward Lawyers And Support Staff Using One Bonus Plan

April 22, 2004
Dear Wrestling:

Rewarding both lawyers and your support staff is admirable. But while rewarding lawyers based on preset targets is easy, quantifying the collective effort of support staff is much more difficult.
First, decide whether it makes sense to reward lawyers individually for exceeding billing or budget goals, or if group success be taken into account. If lawyers compete against one another to the detriment of the firm, consider granting each lawyer an additional bonus if the entire group exceeds its quarterly budget. Then, reward your support staff appropriately by dividing an appropriate pool of money among those eligible.
Additionally, ask individual lawyers to formally recognize employees whose impact on their success has been greatest. Consider non-monetary incentives also. A "bonus" system aligns rewards with employees' monetary performance; it does not necessarily align employee incentives with the best long-term interests of your firm.
Lastly, institutional pride provides a strong complement to financial incentives. Organizations that build pride are rich in a crucial form of institutional capital -- employees who have internalized the firm's best interests, take ownership for its successes, and are motivated in a deeply personal way to excel. Motivating through pride increases the value of non-monetary recognition. It also is a highly practical, individualized, and consequently effective way to reward performance.
SOURCE: Shruti Ravikumar, associate, Katzenbach Partners LLC, a New York City, May 8, 2003.
LEARN MORE: Read "How Can I Get a Pat on the Back?"
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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