5 Signs That You Aren’t Paying Your Employees Enough

I was reading an article recently, it was one of those “Best Places To Work” type of articles.

Since I run a company, I’m always looking out for good ideas on how to take care of your employees without spending a dime. Unfortunately, “Best Places” companies that make these lists usually don’t give you these type 0f ideas!

What you get from “Best Places” articles are all the over the top crap – gourmet cat food for your in-cube pet-mate, free liposuction for your spouse, and discounted tattoo eyeliner coupons.

I would love for my company to be on the top of every single “Best Places” to work article, but we probably won’t. I care too much about my employees to make that happen.

Getting on a best places list? You gotta apply!


Yes, you read that right – my greatest weakness is I care too much!

It costs an organization a ton of money to make a “Best Places” list – not in actually applying to make the list (Oh yeah, they are chosen randomly — you have to apply – because the Top 100 Greatest Places to Work isn’t really the Top 100 Greatest Places to Work. No, it is the top companies that applied for the award for the Greatest Places to Work), but in doing all the silly crap they do, they sound like a great place to work.

Many of the best places to work will never be on a list, because they are spending their time, money and effort on their employees!

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5 signs you aren’t getting paid enough

Here are some things that “Best Places to Work” companies and “You Not Getting Paid Enough” have in common:

  1. If your company provides unlimited gourmet free breakfast, lunch and dinner  – you’re not getting paid enough. Cut that crap out and pay me $10K more per year;  I’ll bring in my own Greek yogurt and granola.
  2. If your company pays to have your laundry done and your house cleaned, you’re not getting paid enough.
  3. If your company is taking you on luxury vacations and dinners that cost more than your monthly home mortgage, you’re not getting paid enough.
  4. If your company spends more on marketing themselves as a great place to work than on your employee development, you’re not getting paid enough.
  5. If your CEO flies to work on a daily or weekly basis, you’re not getting paid enough.

So, how do I show my employees that I care and that we have a great place to work?

How to REALLY have a great place to work

I don’t waste money on things that ultimately become a negative when I need to take them away because we aren’t making the money for our shareholders. All great places to work, eventually, become average or crappy places to work because sustaining luxury programs that you put in place when you were doing well become negatives to engagement when you have to tighten your boot straps.

Pay your people fairly. Meet their needs as adults. Treat them professionally and with respect. That’s what makes a great place to work.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


6 Comments on “5 Signs That You Aren’t Paying Your Employees Enough

  1. I have been saying this forever. I don’t need perks that I probably would never buy myself. The two most valuable things for me when it comes to work is my paycheck and my time. Give me as much as you can on those two fronts and I will be fine.
    Also I have been saying this forever. Once you start to give employees something taking it away is way more of a negative than the positive you did get when you started it. I have seen people flip out over not getting a turkey at Thanksgiving.

  2. I worked for a company that treated it’s employees like crap. A couple of years later they showed up on one those “Best Places to Work” lists. I couldn’t believe it, they must have changed EVERYTHING! So I put my organization in for recognition, thinking that if my old company made the list than surely my new one will be #1 as it was a hundred times better than the former. We didn’t make the cut. I lost complete faith and respect for the “list” and the organization that published it. Then I was notified if I want to be on the list I should take the seminars offered by the publishing organization. The very costly seminars. OK, now I get it. It’s all bought and paid for. So your analysis is correct, I wasn’t getting paid enough because they were spending all the money to get on the list.

  3. “Pay your people fairly. Meet their needs as adults. Treat them professionally and with respect.” Agreed. Not everyone does.

  4. Paying people and treating them like valuable human beings is what makes a good place to work. It’s great to have a company do some nice things once in a while, but the most important thing is pay me what I am worth and treat me with respect. The more relaxed and happy I am at work the more I want and the more I strive to work my absolute best because I love the company I work for. Bottom line is if people are miserable and underpaid you are going to have unhappy employees that are going to do the bare minimum to get through the day and get a paycheck. If an employee feels valued, cared for and respected they will go above and beyond to make you money and to build your brand and your company. It makes better business sense to pay them what they deserve.

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