Big Brother is watching (your bonus)

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New computer programmes are bringing science to the art of bonus allocation.

Deutsche Bank is the latest to extol the virtues of electronically monitoring its employees. In an article in this week's Financial News David Fass, head of global banking for Europe, eulogizes about a new computer system which allows business development managers to analyse the amount of money clients are bringing in versus the amount of time employees spend calling and meeting them.

"We have a lot of Big Brother and it keeps people focused," says Fass. "It's hard work, but those who can thrive on this platform are well paid."

They're also closely scrutinized. Deutsche isn't the first to use computers to keep tabs on its employees - a banker at a rival firm complains that his ex-employer (a US house) used a similar system to keep tabs on how many calls he made and produced monthly stats on his productivity compared to other relationship managers. "It takes away your freedom," he complains.

The upside is that bonuses are allocated on the basis of hard facts. "You can ensure you reward the people who are most productive and adding the most value to the business - those people are less likely to mind being tracked," says Andrew Pullman, former head of capital markets HR at Dresdner Kleinwort, turned founder of People Risk Solutions.

And if you don't like it? "Management tools that measure employees' productivity are perfectly justified," says Shaun Springer, chief executive of search firm Napier Scott. "If individuals don't like being monitored they should start a business of their own."

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