Benefits and Compensation

Daniel Pink: Is Management an Anachronism?

Pink, author of popular management books including his latest, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, offered examples of how employers give today’s employees the autonomy they want—and that you need them to have. 

Is Management an Anachronism? 

Management is not a God-given mandate, says Pink, it’s a technology from the 1850s. It’s designed to get compliance, but in today’s workplace, we want engagement. “You can’t be managed into engagement,” Pink says.

What are people looking for? High Standards, Fairness, and Autonomy. 

Pink’s Examples of Autonomy 

At Netflix, salaried employees’ vacation rules are simple—take as much as you want, whenever you want. 

When Facebook looks for computer pros, the applicants interview with several teams, and then the applicants pick the team they want to work for. 

At Atlassian, on Thursdays, the rule is, work on whatever you want, then on Friday, present what you did. They call these days “FEDEX days,” because they get the ideas overnight. This approach has led to many great ideas. 


Step … away … from the keyboard! Your job descriptions are already written. Click here to see why thousands of managers have a permanent place in their offices for BLR’s classic Job Descriptions Encyclopedia.


Google has a similar approach which has spawned a number of great ideas—including Gmail. That’s right, Gmail wasn’t an official project. 

At Intuit, they embrace the concept of spending 10% of your time on whatever you want. The company used to ship software in shrink-wrapped boxes. Now you download it, but customers actually want it on their mobile devices.  Out of the “10% time,” Intuit had 7 apps up and running before the first formally approved project appeared. Takeaway: If you think the “10% of your time” idea is soft, Pink says, think again—it’s muscular. 

Want FEDEX time for your employees? Make it part of the job description. Like many things compensation, the first step is aligning the job description with the strategy.  How about your job descriptions? Well-written, up-to-date, and ADA-compliant? Detailed enough to help? Essential skills delineated? 

If not—or if you’ve never even written job descriptions—you’re not alone. Thousands of companies fall short in this area. 

It’s easy to understand why. Job descriptions are not simple to do—what with updating and management and legal review, especially given the ADA requirement of a split-off of essential functions from other functions in the description. Wouldn’t it be great if your job descriptions were available and already written? 

Actually, they are. We have more than 700, ready to go, covering every common position in any organization, from receptionist right up to president. They are in an extremely popular BLR program called the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia. 

First created in the 1980s, the “JDE” has been continually refined and updated over time, with descriptions revised or added each time the law, technology—or the way we do business—changes. 


Prewritten job descriptions in the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia now come with pay grades already attached. Click here to try the program at no cost.


Revised for the ADA, Pay Grades Updated 

There was a major revision, for example, following the passage of the ADA. In fact, BLR editors reviewed every one of those 700 descriptions to ensure they were ADA-compliant. 

Another enhancement was the updating of pay grades for each job. According to our customers, this is an enormous time-saver, enabling them to make compensation decisions even as they define the position. You can see a sample job description from the program by clicking here. (Yes, it is the one for HR Manager—Pay grade: 37.)

The BLR Job Descriptions Encyclopedia also includes an extensive tutorial on setting up a complete job descriptions program, and how to encourage participation from all parts of the organization. That includes top management, the employees, and any union or other collective bargaining entity.

 Quarterly Updates, No Additional Cost

 Very important these days, quarterly updates are included in the program as a standard feature—key at a time of constantly changing laws and emerging technologies. We’ll send you new or revised descriptions every 90 days. And the cost is extremely reasonable, averaging less than 43 cents per job description … already written, legally reviewed, and ready to adapt or use as is.

 You can evaluate BLR’s Job Descriptions Encyclopedia at no cost in your office for up to 30 days. Get more information or order the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia. 

Download product sample

Download list of job descriptions included