Posted by: Adam Deane | 08/11/2011

BPM: Show me the money!

Show me the moneyThe success or failure of every BPM implementation depends on the skills of the people implementing.

Money is a motivating factor for most of us, but assuming most companies pay the same for your skills, what is it that makes some BPM vendors attract more skills and hold onto skilled employees longer than others?

There are six more weeks till the end of the year… and to most employees that also means six weeks to the annual bonus.

It would be silly of me to complain about bonuses (and shoot myself in the foot), but unlike the sales guys, us techies aren’t as motivated by money or bonuses (although I’m not saying it is unimportant…)

I’ve yet to see a bonus plan that actually motivates.
It’s usually quite the opposite: people with bonus targets usually develop tunnel vision, forget that besides the bonus they are getting a decent salary to do their job.
And don’t get me even started with the managers giving sales targets to techies as part of their bonus plan.

Alfie Kohn, in the classic Harvard Business Review article, wrote:

As for productivity, at least two dozen studies over the last three decades have conclusively shown that people who expect to receive a reward for completing a task or for doing that task successfully simply do not perform as well as those who expect no reward at all. [Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work]

So what are good motivators?
Now I know that all of you go to work because of the impact it makes on the world, the future of the human race, and the great cafeteria coffee… but for most groundhogs like me, there are 6 motivators:

  • Creativity and Challenges
  • Having Excellent Management
  • Having a Voice
  • Building Something that Matters
  • Being Recognized for Hard Work
  • A Good Salary

Creativity and Challenges
Techies love to be creative and solve problems. We also love being busy. If you give a techie a job that does not involve solving something we become grumpy. If we are not busy, we get restless. Learning new technologies is a good antidote. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I like to follow industry trends and innovations.

Having Excellent Management
There’s a ton of papers on good management techniques. I won’t bore you with them.
From my personal experience, the best managers are great manipulators.
Those that have the creative skill of causing you to want to do something, typically in a crafty or cunning way.

Having a Voice
Usually one of the more important things management forget. Treating you like an ant in the anthill. Its amazing how much satisfaction you get by having a voice in the organisation, having an impact on decisions, on the roadmap, on the future of the company.

Building Something that Matters
It might conflict the “keeping us busy” rule, but building something that won’t sell, won’t impact the company and won’t make us a hero – is a big no no. Nothing says “dead end job” more than being given a task that has no impact.
On the other hand, building something that matters ,makes you feel like a king.

Being Recognized for Hard Work
Goes without saying…

A Good Salary
Ian Louw had an interesting link to a Salary Benchmarking report
(State of the Consulting Industry – Customer Demand, Salary Survey & Trends 2011)

I don’t have all of the vendor salary offerings in the BPM industry, but from a quick Google search it seems that:

  • Bigger BPM vendors are paying higher salaries
  • The jump in salaries between the different seniority levels is around 50%.
  • Salaries in the UK are a bit higher than the US
  • Salaries in the rest of Europe are a bit higher than the UK
  • Canada and USA seem to have more BPM opportunities

So does Australia, but they don’t call it BPM down there… I think it’s called BBQ

Bottom line: It’s not just about the money…


  1. Hi Adam,

    Very interesting topic seems as we are not getting a pay rise this year and no bonus! But I suppose its the same for a lot of people this year again.

    As long as I get a challenge every day and BPM definately gives me that, and I get somewhere to express my ideas then I am pretty much happy … although the mrs would like me to get a pay rise one day 🙂

    Take a look at this when you get chance, I think a lot of people should be made to sit down and take a look at this sometime …


    p.s – the other rsa animations on here are excellent as well.

  2. There is also a Ted video where Dan Pink talks about motivation

    Based on Dan’s video, and since we all know BPM is for routine predictable tasks, monetary bonuses should work. It is the more evolved problem solving ACM knowledge worker that needs to be motivated differently as you mention in your post (just kidding? 🙂

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