Career success could be determined at birth

By Drum Digital
06 January 2016

When a boss wants his employees to perform better, he or she typically offers incentives like cash bonuses or, if they're feeling less generous, starts piling on the pressure.

But scientists now claim it could be pointless, after research suggests our ability to perform tasks is determined at birth.

In order to reach their conclusion, scientists from The Netherlands performed brain scans on participants as they worked on computer-based tasks. While participants did work harder when there were bonuses on offer or more pressure applied, their overall performance didn't improve. Tasks which required high levels of concentration showed this the most.

"If basic biology limits our ability to improve at certain types of work, we need to think more imaginatively about the way we measure and reward work performance," Professor Frank Hartmann, Professor of Management Accounting and Management Control at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, explained. "It may be much more task specific than we are currently inclined to think."

The scientists hope businesses will pay more attention to performance limits and be more understanding when employees try hard and it's not reflected in their work.

"Organisations should take care that performance assessments accurately capture the efforts of workers, both to measure whether targets and incentives are effective and to ensure that individuals are rewarded fairly," Professor Hartmann added.

Of course this doesn't mean you have a free pass to stop trying at work and blame it on biology. Rather, if you feel you're giving projects your all and still not satisfying your boss, ask for a performance review where individual targets can be set and you can work together to find a solution. © Cover Media

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