Infographic “How To” Post 1: Paid Well

This is part 1 of a 10 part “how to” series covering the points in the infographic below.

Employees Stay1As I said in my post introducing this series, this infogrpahic probably brings up as many questions as it does answers, and this first one is a doozy.

What if I can’t pay my employees very well?

Well, it’s the first one on the list so if you can’t do that one, I guess you’re sunk.

Not so fast.  Notice that there are 10 things on this infographic, and pay is just one of them.  Also, there is no assumed weighting to the various topics… if you take this at face value, pay is of the same importance as being involved, just like being trusted is on par with being appreciated.  Looking at it that way, pay is one equal part of a 10-piece pie.

However, pay is often one of the ONLY things we consider when someone quits or under performs. If we can’t pay more, we think we can’t compete for top talent or motivate our employees.  But what we are also not taking into consideration the other 9/10ths of the pie.  Pay is easy to quantify because it’s a number and we all get it.

Pay, on it’s own, is also an easy scapegoat for assigning value… namely our value to the organization.  When that number on my check at the end of the week is my ONLY measure of how valuable I am to the organization, it’s unfortunately easy to say it’s not enough. But then again it’s only 1/10th of the pie… how could it be enough?

If you are paying a wage that is fair to you, your employees, and makes sense in your local marketplace, then good for you.  If you can afford to up the ante and pay a little more than your competitors to get people into the fold, even better.

But, putting all of your employee retention eggs in the “they want more money basket” is not only frustrating, it’s short-sighted.

Let’s go back to the pie analogy. Currently, I would imagine, that most of us only see 1/10th of that pie as required compensation of the services our employees provide to us.  In other words, the only thing we HAVE to do, by law, is give them money in exchange for them showing up to work.  So the law dictates it, so it will be done.

But what if…. and go with me on this one… WHAT IF you saw the entire PIE as the compensation package for your team? What if you were AS COMMITTED to providing the other 9/10ths of the pie on a regular and ongoing basis?  WHAT IF there was as much energy and effort dedicated to those other pieces as there are to getting your employees paid?  Now, the overall compensation package – or “what they get for working here” – is much more robust, and pay may not rise to the top of discussions as quickly as the only reason someone would leave or stay.

As an employee, wouldn’t it be better to have all 10 pieces of the pie, rather than one little sliver?

So here’s the “how to” on the pay issue.

  • Start with this: are you paying a fair wage? If so, stop worrying about how to pay more.  If it’s all you can afford, it’s all you can afford.  Money is not always the answer.
  • With a fair wage in place, concentrate on the other pieces of the pie (which will be covered in subsequent posts).  Provide an employee experience that goes beyond the paycheck, and serves their needs as much as they are serving the needs of your guests.  Since your current employees are some of your best recruiters, if you are treating them well and are showing them genuine care and concern, that word will spread.  Top talent will be drawn to you not because of the wage, but because there is a compelling reason to work for you.
  • Remember your own motivations… it’s no secret that many of us who have made a career in the attractions industry have done so because we love what we do, not because we are going to get rich and retire early.  Some of your employees might just feel the same way, but you will never know it if you ONLY think that money is the ultimate motivator.

The bottom line is: pay is important.  No doubt about it.  However if that is your ONLY bargaining chip when it comes to keeping your best players, you will soon find yourself with an empty dugout.

Next up: Mentoring

Thanks for reading!


About the author – After 20+ years in hospitality leadership and human resources, Matt  Heller founded Performance Optimist Consulting in 2011 with one simple goal: Help Leaders Lead. Matt now works with attractions large and small and leaders at all levels to help them improve leadership competencies, customer service, employee motivation and teamwork. His book, “The Myth of Employee Burnout” was released in 2013 has become a go-to resource among industry leaders.

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