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Technicians and Motivation, Part Two

Money. It’s an undeniable fact that one of the things that motivates people to engage in a given activity is that they will wind up earning money in exchange for their efforts. And, as I said last week, technicians are people, so it’s undeniable that one of the things that motivates them to do the best job possible in troubleshooting and repairing HVACR equipment is the fact that they will, in the end, be getting paid to do their job.

OK…no argument there. People work, people get paid. It’s simple…but then again, when it comes to paying technicians for doing what they do (show up at the customer’s home, office, or other business, find out what’s wrong with something or what maintenance needs to be accomplished, then go ahead and either fix the equipment that’s not working or do the necessary PM), it’s not. The question of whether to pay a technician :

1. An hourly wage,

2. According to a commission scale, or,

3.  Some combination of 1 and 2,

always comes up when a technician’s earnings are discussed. And, that being said, in order that you can decide without reading any further where I stand on this subject so you can click off to somewhere else if you want to, I’ll give you my opinion. 

Paying an hourly wage only, sucks; for the technician, the business that employs them, and the customer. And you can quote me on that.

And, I’ll go one step further and say that I’m also convinced that the 2nd option listed above is the best possible compensation system for any employee. However, since I undestand that not everybody has a complete understanding of something that I call a fundamental law of prosperity, I can go along with the 3rd option until employees and employers are comfortable with the 2nd one.

On the hourly wage issue, the reason I feel so strongly about it is that I’ve never seen a situation where this system of compenation doesn’t at best, foster some degree of mediocrity, and at worst, act as the foundation for an antagonistic, us-versus-them mentality, which promotes a destructive negativity that permeates throughout an organization, and affects everybody involved. I see this from a very simple perspective. When you take away the opportunity for a human being to achieve and accomplish in accordance with some type of incentive system, it affects their motiviation. It may be a major effect, or it may only be a minor one, but it’s never non-existent. No matter how overjoyed somebody might be when they’re first hired and appreciate that the fact that they have a job, eventually, the goal-seeking, motivation system that is innate in all of us kicks in.

And, no, an annual review that results in a wage increase of a few percentage points doesn’t cut it. What motivates a person is the opportunity to be compensated for excellent performance in their job, which means that some type of commission compensation system is necessary for an harmonious relationship between the employee and employer….which, will, in the end, provide the best possible buying opportunity for the customer. The success of all this, is, of course, predicated on the fact that it has to be done the right way, and everybody involved is honest.

Naturally, we’ve all heard the horror stories. I recently encountered a discussion through social media in which an employer said: “I once made the mistake of telling my employees besides gettng paid they can earn commission selling jobs.” He went on to say that, “Those low life crooks tried selling……” (What they tried to sell and to whom isn’t important here. My point is only about what an employer said in regard to a commission compensation system.)

Why anyone would hire “low life crooks” to provide a service to their customers is beyond me, so I won’t dwell on that. I only wanted to use this example to discuss the idea that when a technician is offered the opportunity to earn commission on additional products and services, it all comes down to intent. If the technician’s intent is to make as much money as possible without caring whether or not the customer winds up buying things they don’t want or need, then the end result will be what that employer described.

However, if the technician, first and foremost, believes that the company he or she works with provides the best possible value for the customer’s money spent, and that the customer can benefit from the purchase of additonal products and services, then the intent is not simply to make money. The intent is to provide the best possible service for a customer.

It all comes down to intent….intent that, I’m convinced, filters throughout an organization, and begins with the ownership and management of that organization.  

Until next week.

Learn from yesterday… for today….look forward to tomorrow.