Dear Bob ...
I'm sure this isn't a new situation, but it's new to me: We've launched a large project and are relying more on contractors than is normal for us. We pay our contractors by the hour, which appears to be industry-standard practice.
[ Also on InfoWorld: "Mixed teams don't have to be dysfunctional -- but they certainly can be" | Get sage advice on IT careers and management from Bob Lewis in InfoWorld's Advice Line newsletter. ]
And yet, I have an uncomfortable feeling that they aren't working as hard as the employees who are working side-by-side with them, and that their hourly pay has something to do with the problem.
OK, it's more than a feeling. My employees have raised concerns, and it's clear that when someone is paid hourly, working more hours means earning more money.
What can I do about this?
Dear Payer ...
This situation goes back a long, long way. Tracy Kidder, in his classic "Soul of a New Machine" described a manager hiding the timesheets of his hourly techs because his programmers, being exempt, were earning less even though they held higher-status positions.
Economists call this situation "perverse incentives" -- what you want people to do is pretty much the opposite of what their economic incentives tell them to do. Given a choice between your imprecations (how's that for a word?) and their economic incentives, the latter has a much louder voice.
Here's what you can do: