Merge's Blog

How to keep your best people? Pay them fairly

EmployeeLeavingWe’re underway in an ongoing series on how to keep your best people from walking out the door and over to your competition. So far I’ve talked about giving sincere praise often and buffering your staff from bureaucracy. Today I want to get to a much more practical topic – money. If you want to keep your best people, pay them fairly. Did you notice that I didn’t say “Pay them well” or even “Pay them a lot”. I said pay them fairly. “Fairly” means equivalently compared to their peers. And keep in mind that “fairly” is in the eyes of the beholder.

A lot of people think that the best way to keep people is to pay them more. And believe it or not, it’s not true. Now let’s be clear. You can’t get away with under-paying your folks (because they’ll walk, particularly the good ones), but once you pay them at a level that they perceive as fair, the research unequivocally shows that it’s not the money that will keep them performing at above-average and exceptional levels. Money is what is known as an extrinsic factor – it needs to be present at an acceptable level to bring people to a base-line, but if you want consistent, above-average, reach-for-the-top performance on an ongoing basis, then intrinsic factors are where it’s at. And what are those intrinsic factors? Well, that’s a subject of a future blog post, but for now, keep in mind that recognition (and praise) are very powerful intrinsic motivators.

So … what do you think? Are my comments about money on target? Or have you seen differently in your experience and your workplace. Please share your thoughts.

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