Thunder Cloud: Managing Reward in a Digital Age

Daniel Hibbert

Publisher: AuthorHouse Pages: 103 Price: (paperback) $15.18 ISBN: 9781524631789 Reviewed: September, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

How should companies compensate employees, including pay, benefits, and pensions? And what about the intangible rewards such as job satisfaction and public recognition? The digital age, claims Daniel Hibbert in this brief study, has changed the established rules around employee rewards. Yet many companies are still compensating employees as they did in the times of ancient Rome!

Hibbert takes a systemic approach, based on the behavioral sciences, to the question of rewarding employees. He divides employee rewards into two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic rewards are visible and measurable. They consist of salary, benefits, share incentives, pensions and the like, while the author defines intrinsic rewards as those that “meet the psychological needs of the individual.” Hibbert holds that these intangible rewards are as powerful as measurable compensation in terms of meeting employee expectations and influencing behavior. The key to managing rewards, posits the author, is to balance the extrinsic with the intrinsic. Managers with a finance background, however, have a bias in favor of what can be measured, and this causes many of them to miss the psychological rewards to which today’s employees respond.

The organizing metaphor of the book, the thundercloud, is intended to evoke the unpredictable nature of rewards systems in organizations as well as the potentially dark consequences of managing these systems poorly. Hibbert emphasizes that the enormous investment companies make in employees must be managed with great sensitivity.

This well-organized monograph takes readers through a clear argument, first presenting the issue of reward in the digital age and then discussing both what works and what does not. It provides useful tips for managers: for example, Hibbert looks askance at performance-based pay, while acknowledging that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Thunder Cloud’s clear account will be of use to HR professionals and anyone tasked with managing employees.

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