Can You Pay People To Change?

Can you pay people to change?  Can you purchase compliance?  Is social success predicated on company culture?  Do people really want to be social?  Are the social “gurus” (laughable) right in how the lofty and esoterica language they use to describe social?  All of these questions and more are up for grabs with Google’s decision to tie employee bonuses to the succes of failure of their forays into the social space.

Last week, Larry Page, Google’s CEO sent out a company wide memo that outlined the importance of social, the role employees must play in driving social success and how their compensation will be tied to Google’s growth in social.  If you will, Google is trying to buy employee participation, adoption, interest and promotion of social.

Ballsy, for sure.  It certainly sends a signal that Google has flopped thus far in social and doesn’t want it to happen again.  I’m not exaggerating when I say failure.  Take for example the following: Knoll wasn’t a hit.  Orkut fell on deaf ears.  Jaiku was just bad.  Wave was a failure.  Blogger is nice, but is no WordPress.  Buzz didn’t take off.

Over and over Google has flopped in the social space for one reason or another.  Will this brave approach by Larry Page be the lightening rod that unifies the organization or will it cause irreparable harm because people will be faking their participation?

Time will tell.  But, one thing is for sure, this is the ultimate social experiment.

  • Zwest87

    While I believe incentives can drive behavior, money is the wrong incentive for a Google employee. It’s about prestige, its about putting that on your resume. So why would a bonus drive you to be social at Google? Google’s brand is “solution”, they need to understand that and accept that people don’t want their to be a “solution” to their social experience. Don’t optimize my communication with friends online, enhance my communication with friends with online. (That is Google’s problem)

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