David Colman: Employees are motivated by more than just money
- January 14, 2008 7:43 AM |
- By Michael Hlinka
Money Talks is a collection of daily columns from The Business Network, which airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One at 5:45 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. ET in N.L.).
By David Colman, a partner with TriOpus Group in Regina
(Listen to the original audio)
There's been a lot of interest lately in the letter that Richard Branson sent to 4800 cabin crew of Virgin Atlantic Airways. In essence he told employees that if they wanted more pay than they have been offered, they should probably go work somewhere else. Much of the reaction to his letter has been polarized - those heavily supportive and those equally opposed.
As leaders, regardless of where we stand on Richard Branson's comments, it is an issue that we all must face at one point or another. It raises the question of the importance of wages and benefits to the overall value of working for an organization.
Branson's position is that the business cannot afford to pay more and that the overall enjoyment of working for his company as opposed to working for the competition far outweighs the lower wages and benefits. Whether you support his position or not, you have to admire the fact that he has openly expressed his thoughts.
Historically, others would argue the opposite and that unless the basics are well taken care of, namely salary, benefits, working conditions and so on, it will be impossible to attract and motivate employees to be happy in their work. This most certainly would be the position of the late Frederick Herzberg and Abraham Maslow.
Neither you nor I are responsible for Virgin Atlantic but, as leaders, we need to attract and retain the best available talent for our companies. Not only do we compete for employees in our own industry, we compete against all of business and industry both locally and internationally. Here are some important things to remember:
Employees are an investment and an asset, not just an expense.
Be as competitive as possible with your compensation packages.
Never assume that salary and benefits are enough. Seek to understand what will make employees loyal to you.
To be successful, we need employees who feel they are valued, that are fairly compensated, and who look forward to coming to work every day.
Whether we are leading Virgin Atlantic Airways, running a corner store, or doing the jobs that you and I do, there is only one thing worse than losing employees because they are dissatisfied, and that is having unhappy employees that stay.
-- David Colman
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