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Compensation Cafe: Focus on the Contribution, not the Hours

By Derek Irvine

Recognize This! – Companies that emphasize cultures of contribution rather than hours spent at a desk are better positioned to achieve success.

Everyone seems to be much busier these days, rushing between meetings or from project to project, with even less time being spent away from work. It can seem like being busy has become a competition.

Recent data has started to confirm some of these perceptions, that the number of hours worked has become a symbol of status and prestige. As I wrote recently on Compensation Cafe, this data is largely in opposition to conventional wisdom where a sense of status should be associated with having more leisure time and not less.

Indicative of a culture of long hours and face-time, it’s time for a shift towards a culture of contribution instead. What exactly is that?

Within a culture of contribution, organizations strive for the promises of a better workforce where efficiency leads to flexibility and greater life balance are normal. A culture is built that empowers employees to work in ways that allow them to be productive contributors, regardless of time and place. As a result, employees are more likely to ask themselves “What value can I bring?” and not “How many more hours should I work?”

To get there, companies need to focus on greater humanity in the workplace. They need to build interpersonal trust and strong relationships to ignite collective energy and motivation. They need to invest in social technologies that can reinforce those dynamics and help people to share ideas, connect on deeper levels, and be more productive. As I write in the full post:

Together, these types of solutions can go a long way in creating more productive and also more flexible workplaces through a culture of contribution.

So, how does your own company emphasize your contributions instead of the hours you’ve put in?