Everybody is Underpaid

Everybody’s underpaid. In my 20+ year career, I have never had an employee walk into my office and say, “John, I just wanted to let you know that I’m fairly compensated and I don’t need anything else.” But I can’t count the number of times people have come to me to express their displeasure with their current compensation. Each time, there is always something more than the pay. Employees want to feel valued in more ways than just compensation and when those conditions aren’t being met, the dollars get the attention.

There are many factors that go into an employee’s job satisfaction. Let’s just get this one out of the way, salary is a major part of this. When the experts tell you otherwise, they’re trying to sell you something. People don’t work for free and they go to work to earn a fair and decent wage to take care of themselves and their family. But this isn’t the only factor. Employees want to feel valued. They want a nice commute to work. They want to work on cool and exciting projects. They want to work with good people and have good managers who care about them. And when those good things happen, the fair paycheck is an afterthought. 

When a few of the above mentioned break down, though, employees turn to their salary. They weigh all of the factors and then determine if the job is really worth it. A crappy commute paired with a horrible boss and a side of mediocre work will do the trick. Employees then head on over to places like Glassdoor to seek validation because they don’t feel valued. They try to find the right data that fits their story.

When your employees come to you and ask for more money, make sure you find out the real reason. Ask questions about their job and their role. Find out what’s really going on. Because the money question usually signals an employee is at the end of her rope.

And if you try to solve this issue by just throwing money at them, you will only fix this temporarily. Because no amount of money will be able to fix a crappy work experience. Life is too short for that. 


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