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What do your employees really want?

What do your employees really want?

When I worked for a consulting company prior to starting my own company, I was hired at a salary about $5000 less than I wanted to make.

This company was very focused on the professional and personal development of their employees.  They gave me many opportunities for advancement, a great working environment, and flexibility in my work schedule.  Do you think I harbored resentment because I was making less than I wanted?  No, I actually felt blessed to go to work every day.

After September 11, 2001, when the company had to take a 10% pay cut across the board, do you wonder if we became a bunch of disgruntled employees?  No again.  We all recognized what a good thing we had and committed to pulling together to improve the financial situation of the company.

On the flip side, I have a client who has continued to pone up money for an employee who – while technically gifted – has a very bad attitude.  From concessions they’ve made for her to perks in compensation, nothing has changed her attitude.  I finally asked my client if they thought giving her an extra $200 per week would make her happy.  They had to admit that, no, in the long run, it wouldn’t make much difference.

So what does this mean as an employer?  First and foremost, stop throwing money at employees who have attitude problems.  Wouldn’t your money be better spent on top performers, incentives, and compensation for performance?  Look at the people in your organization who are performing well despite all the conditions the “bad eggs” are complaining about.

That’s the beautiful thing about top performers.  They will outperform low performers even with worse conditions, no resources, and bad information.

Second, perhaps now is the time to get more top performers in your organization and weed out the low performers.  You can’t make them happy anyway.  It’s actually doing both of you a favor by letting them go.

Remember – it’s rarely the people that you let go that cause you problems.  It’s the ones who you let stay, claiming they are underpaid, who under-perform and drag others down.