Companies are trudging their way through this slow and often painful economic recovery. Reorganization has become a mantra of survival, but where do your employees and their compensation fall into the mix? Recently both friends and clients have been telling me about their troubles at work. Many aren’t really complaining about their compensation, they are griping about the job they are doing for the pay. A common refrain goes something like this: “I used to love my job, but I don’t even know what I am supposed to be doing anymore.” Or, “The job they have me doing now isn’t something I was hired to do. I think they’re trying to get me to quit.”
In all of my years in this profession, I have known very few instances where a company was “trying” to get someone to quit. It happens on rare occasion, but generally companies are striving to get people to stay. Even if that means having them do a job that doesn’t fit their skills set perfectly. Even if the compensation they are making is too much for said job. So where’s the disconnect?
Consider every job at your company. Is there a job, or a location you wouldn’t accept at your current compensation? Think harder, is there a job you wouldn’t do no matter how much it paid? I bet the answer to both questions is “yes.” In our scramble to keep our companies afloat and moving in the right direction, we sometimes think that people will be happy with any job, rather than no job. Generally that’s true, but sometimes we forget to ask the question and end up subverting our strenuous efforts.
Taking this to the next logical step, sometime it’s not the position; it’s the work environment. Either the culture has changed significantly or the person in charge has created an environment that leaps from evolutionary to revolutionary. While revolutionary ideas are sometimes the impetus for great positive change, they can often be the motivation for angry uprisings. It is important for us to monitor the revolution as it’s happening or we may be literally forced to pay people more money to do the same job…worse.
Compensation is a great motivator and equalizer, but market data seldom includes the job satisfaction quotient of the companies involved. You may be able to pay less money for more work by simply having people do the jobs they think they are being paid to do. More importantly you may not ever be able to pay people enough to do a job they don’t want to do. This is just a friendly reminder from your thoughtful neighborhood compensation consultant.