Performance and Pay: a Questionable Link

Although pay plays a role in the performance of an employee, experts point out that motivation is also strongly linked to the pleasure obtained from work.

Salary, bonuses and insurance are not the only things that count in performance. “Monetary compensation is the least effective of all if it is poorly implemented,” says Jean-Sébastien Boulard, Senior Adviser, Performance, for the Normandin Beaudry consulting firm.

Sarah Girouard, consultant in organizational development for Alia Conseil, has largely focused her academic research on the question. Based on studies on the links between wellness and financial resources (for lottery winners or people in disadvantaged countries, for example), she explains that “money doesn’t buy happiness or performance”.


Also an organizational psychologist, Sarah Girouard warns about the trend to variable pay, which is in addition to a fixed pay and is based on individual and collective performance. “Variable pay stimulates performance, but puts pressure on employees. “It reduces intrinsic motivation, which comes from the individual,” she explains.

Creating a sales commission, for example, tends to reduce certain behaviours, or can even lead to deviant behaviour. The employees shine individually, but team spirit is reduced as competition and pressure rise.

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