Most employees don't see a correlation between their job performance and what they are paid, according to a nationwide survey by Wyatt Co., a compensation consulting firm in Irvine.
Wyatt said only 28% of the 5,000 workers surveyed see a link between performance and pay.
Only 13% of union members related performance to pay increases, while 33% of the non-union workers saw a relationship. And employees who gave their supervisors a poor or fair ranking are only about one-third as likely to link the two compared to those who like their supervisors.
Employees most often think that pay increases are general, across-the-board raises for all employees, even when the raises are said to be based on merit, said Paul Sanchez, Wyatt's director of organization research.
Companies are making serious efforts to reward employees for performance, but for reward systems to work, employees obviously must see that performance makes a difference in pay, Sanchez said.
"The key is employer-employee communication," he said.
Sanchez said raises should not be awarded to employees who aren't performing well.
"That way, your employees quickly get the idea that they're being paid for their performance," Sanchez said.