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Production vs Performance: Finding the Best Way to Pay Your Employees

By Jacquie

As a business owner or manager, you know how important it is to take care of your employees. But let's face it, paying them can be overwhelming, and it's easy to feel lost in the sea of options. Should you pay per hour, salary, or use a production bonus? Don't worry, we understand the struggle, and we're here to help. We'll walk you through each payment method's benefits and drawbacks, and most importantly, assist in guiding you to choose the best payment system for your business. So let's dive in and ease your burden, so you can focus on what matters most, your business.

Production vs Performance: Finding the Best Way to Pay Your Employees

The Pros and Cons of Hourly Pay

Hourly pay has been the go-to payment method for employers for many years. Its popularity has grown over time, and it remains the preferred payment method in various industries. Hourly pay is often viewed as straightforward and reliable, providing a clear way to calculate payment for the actual hours worked. This approach is especially important in industries where employees work part-time, have varying schedules, or are on rotating shifts.

However, there are also drawbacks to using hourly pay. Employees may feel pressured to complete their work as quickly as possible to increase their total hours worked, potentially resulting in lower-quality work. In contrast, other employees may take longer than necessary to complete tasks, resulting in a decrease in overall productivity. Moreover, highly skilled workers who work independently and need flexibility in their schedules may find hourly pay a bit restrictive.


Despite its downsides, hourly pay still has its advantages. For one, it guarantees employees a steady and predictable income, providing a sense of financial security. For employers, it allows more control over the number of hours worked, making it an attractive option for businesses that have varying workloads or face fluctuations in demand.

The Pros and Cons of Salary Pay

Salary pay is a payment method where employees receive a predetermined amount from their employer, regardless of the number of hours worked. One of the primary benefits of salary pay is the stability it offers for both employers and employees. The set salary allows for easier budgeting and predictability in income for workers. Additionally, it typically provides more flexibility in scheduling, allowing for work-life balance and the ability to take time off without affecting pay.

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However, salary pay also has its drawbacks. One significant disadvantage is the potential for overworking employees without additional compensation. Since salaried employees are not paid based on the number of hours worked, some employers may require them to work long hours or perform additional duties without compensation. This can result in employee burnout and reduced productivity.


Another potential downside of salary pay is the lack of motivation for employees to work harder or complete tasks quickly. Since the salary is fixed, there may be little incentive for employees to go above and beyond their job requirements, leading to complacency and reduced productivity.

Despite these drawbacks, salary pay remains an attractive option for employers and employees alike. For employees, the stability and flexibility provided by salary pay can offer peace of mind and a better work-life balance. For employers, it provides an easy way to budget labor costs and ensure consistent work schedules. However, it is essential to consider the potential downsides and determine whether salary pay is the best payment method for a particular role.

The Pros and Cons of Hourly Pay with a Production Bonus

Hourly pay with a production or performance bonus is a payment method that combines the benefits of hourly pay with the incentive for employees to work harder and more efficiently.

One of the main advantages of hourly pay with a production bonus is that it motivates employees to work at their maximum capacity to receive the bonus, which can result in higher productivity levels and increased profits for the business. Furthermore, the production bonus can serve as a tool to promote healthy competition among employees or teams, further driving productivity and efficiency.

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However, there are also some disadvantages to consider when implementing hourly pay with a production bonus. For example, setting the right parameters for the bonus can be difficult, as it needs to be fair and proportional to the amount of work completed. This can lead to disputes and disagreements between employees and employers. Additionally, if the bonus is not calculated and managed properly, it can lead to a decrease in the quality of work, as employees may prioritize speed over quality to increase their production.


Furthermore, hourly pay with a production bonus may not be suitable for all types of work. For example, creative industries such as graphic design or content creation may not benefit from this payment method, as the quality of work is often prioritized over quantity. In such cases, a fixed salary or hourly pay may be a better option.

Exempt vs. Nonexempt Employees: What You Need to Know

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that governs the minimum wage, overtime pay, and other labor standards in the United States. Under the FLSA, employees are classified as exempt or nonexempt based on their job duties and salary level. Exempt employees are generally paid a salary and are exempt from overtime pay requirements, while nonexempt employees are paid hourly and must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

If an employee is classified as nonexempt, they must be paid hourly, which simplifies the decision-making process for employers. However, it's important to keep in mind that state laws may also affect the classification of employees. For example, in California, the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees is twice the state minimum wage, which is higher than the federal requirement. This means that an employee who would be considered exempt under federal law may be classified as nonexempt under California law, and must be paid hourly.

Staying informed about the labor laws in your state is essential to ensure that you're paying your employees fairly and legally. It's also important to keep in mind that laws and regulations can change over time, so it's crucial to stay up-to-date with any updates or changes to the law. By staying informed and making informed decisions, you can create a fair and equitable pay structure for your workforce while avoiding legal complications.

Finding the Right Payment System for Your Business

As a business owner or manager, one of your essential tasks is to pay your employees. There are several factors to consider when choosing a payment system, such as the nature of the work, the skills and experience of your employees, and your company's financial situation. You can opt to pay your employees per hour, on a salary basis, or with a production bonus, and each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.


Hourly pay is a common payment method that is easy to calculate and understand, and it ensures that employees are paid for the time they work. However, it can also encourage employees to rush through their work or take longer than necessary. Salary pay is often used for professional and managerial positions, providing stability for both employees and employers, but it may lead to overworking without additional compensation. Hourly pay with a production bonus combines the benefits of hourly pay with the motivation to work harder and more efficiently. Still, it may not be suitable for all types of work and can be challenging to manage.

It's crucial to know whether your employees are classified as exempt or nonexempt based on their job duties and salary level, as this affects their pay structure. Staying informed about the labor laws in your state and any updates or changes to the law is essential to ensure that you're paying your employees fairly and legally.

To find the right payment system for your business, you should prioritize fairness to all employees and recognize top performers without penalizing the average worker. You can achieve this by setting clear expectations and performance goals, providing regular feedback and recognition, and implementing a transparent and straightforward payment system. You should also monitor your payment system regularly and make necessary adjustments to ensure its fairness and effectiveness over time.

Paying employees is a critical aspect of running a business, and it's essential to find the right payment system that works for your business and culture. Although no system is perfect, you can ensure that your employees are compensated fairly and motivated to do their best work by staying on top of your payment system and making adjustments as necessary.

Are you ready to pay your employees fairly and motivate them to do their best work?

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