I was having lunch with my good friend, and former business partner, Rex Kurzius* the other day. During lunch, he informed me that he is only looking to hire people from USC. I let the statement pass for a few moments because Rex has a tendency to throw out statements for shock value and sometimes it’s best to let it go; however, this time I had to ask him why he would only hire people from the University of Southern California. As it turns out he wasn’t referring to the University of Southern California but, as he put it, the “University of Straight Commission”. While the delivery on paper may not seem funny, I thought that this was one of the funniest statements I’ve heard in awhile. It wasn’t until later in the evening after I had shared the statement with a few friends, did the brilliance of the statement hit me.

While every employee in a company’s organization is not compensated via straight commission, you should view your value and the return your company gets from your efforts as if you WERE on straight commission. I’m speaking to Programmers, Receptionists, HR, Managers, Recruiters, Back Office………EVERYONE.

I repeat - view your value and responsibility in terms of your company’s return. If you are an IT Professional or IT Job Seeker, write down the value that you bring or will bring to an employer and ask yourself “If I was on straight commission, what would my value be?” This will help you during an interview process and/or in your daily efforts. Let me put it this way - If you are a Developer, QA Analyst, BI Architect, Infrastructure Specialist or Project Manager there should be a revenue number tied to your task. If you are part of an E-Commerce development team for instance, your application should be bringing in revenue and you should get an idea of the numbers. If you support a company’s Server Farm and it goes down, how much will that cost?

For sales and recruiting professionals, it is easier to determine your worth to the company that employs you because it can be correlated to direct sales, placements, projects, etc. I know some sales and recruiting professionals that forget that they are really on straight commission even though their employer pays them a salary but I’ll write an article on that some other time.

So……next time you go to work, interview, answer an incoming call, write a test script or line of code, set up a server, troubleshoot a router or set up a sales meeting, do it as if you were only going to be paid for the results of that task. I assure you that some of your employers will.

*Rex Kurzius is the owner of LRK Partners and was formerly the owner of Resulte Universal which was sold to Spherion now operating as Technisource.

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