I think one of the most important work issues and probably one of the least understood, is regarding how team members are paid. This problem of how to pay and what to pay seems to really bother both employers and team members alike. There are so many facets to it: how much can the employer afford, what are the skills worth, how long has the person been on your team, etc. But paying properly can really make or break a team–and a business.
When I thought about it more carefully, I considered, does it really matter that much? If your needs are met and you enjoy your job, then what does the pay really matter? Of course, most people want to earn as much as they can for various reasons, mostly quality of life, and I completely understand and can relate. But I wondered if there was even a deeper reason why we want to be paid well.
I heard it once said by Dave Ramsey, and it’s well-put, “Paying people what they are worth is a sign of respect”. Wow. When I heard that statement, it really hit home to me. It’s not all about the items we can acquire, it’s not about the titles–it’s respect. And part of respecting your team, means paying your team what they are worth.
It’s not about asking for something unrealistic if you have low skills. Low skills equal low pay grades. The Wendy’s worker should not be paid the same for those skills as the digital marketer. It’s not that the Wendy’s worker couldn’t one day learn those skills, but at Wendy’s they are only valuable as the hamburger preparer. Therefore, there shouldn’t be so much pushback in why they are paid accordingly, because their value in the marketplace is just not equivalent to the digital marketer. The more you learn, the more value you add to yourself, the more you rightfully should be paid. Now whether the employer you’re with is willing and/or able to do that, is another matter entirely.
If you are not paying properly, eventually, your team will leave. People need motivation. There are some ways you can do that on your team, but a big and obvious way is by paying properly and having incentive programs. I worked on a team once that did this well. There was a clear path to raises and bonuses, and seeing that, to know it was coming, was very motivating. I’ve also had the opposite be true. I’ve had employers that myself or my friends worked for who thought they were “saving” money by cutting back for their team. Big mistake. Without your team, you are nothing. They are your most valuable resource and to keep a good team, you must respect them enough to pay them what they are worth and to create opportunity for growth via incentives. If I see nothing to work for, no bonus for helping the company, I’m less inclined to produce for them. “Saving” money on your team–doesn’t work and isn’t an investment.
Conclusively, build your team. Create a clear path to grow and realize that they are an investment in your company. Without that sign of respect in their pay, they may leave–and they should.