Some time back, when I was mostly involved in consultancy projects for mineral exploration companies, there was one request that I kept on getting from my clients. That was the request where the clients (the mineral production companies I consulted for) would come to me, seeking my help in designing performance contracts for their staff members. This was a task I enjoyed greatly, but also one that I found rather challenging.
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In my experience, there is one key thing that makes the task of designing performance contracts for mineral production plant staff members challenging. That is the fact that the deliverables in this type of work are not very easy to quantify. Yet in order to get performance contracts to work properly, you have to quantify the deliverables. The way things work in this industry is such that you can have an engineer in the field pretending to be very busy, yet what he or she is doing is not exactly useful work. Yet it becomes very hard for you to call his bluff: seeing that the engineer in question is an expert in the field, and he or she will always give some sort of technical argument to justify the activities he or she spends time on.
When all is said and done, it is still possible to design performance contracts for mineral production plant staff members. But in doing so, you have to sit down with the staff members in question, and figure out (with them) what deliverables their performance will be measured against. In other words, you have to avoid the mistake of undertaking the exercise in an arbitrary manner, without involving all the concerned parties.
By the way, I was struck by the idea of writing this post (on the subject of designing performance contracts for mineral production plant staff members) a few days ago, while using www.citicards.com. Seeing how smoothly the site works, I found myself thinking that the folks who run it behind the scenes must be under some sort of performance contracts. And just then, I found myself thinking about performance contracts in the context of the mineral exploration sector: hence this blog post.