5 Things That Demonstrate You Aren’t Getting Paid 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, but unfortunately, “Best Places” companies that make these lists usually don’t give you these type of 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.


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

Many REAL Best Places to Work never make a list

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  and you have to apply, because the Top 100 Greatest Places to Work isn’t really the Top 100 Greatest Places to Work – it was the Top of the companies that applied for the award Greatest Places to Work), but in doing all the silly crap they do so they sound like a great place to work.

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

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

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  1. If your company has unlimited gourmet free breakfast, lunch and dinner provided, 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.

When Great Places to Work go the wrong way

So, how do I show my employees that I care and that we 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’re 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 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.


2 Comments on “5 Things That Demonstrate You Aren’t Getting Paid Enough

  1. Hi Tim — While I don’t necessarily agree with your underpaid premise, I do agree that the focus on outlandish perks often detracts from what really makes a workplace great: trustworthy management, fair treatment, respect, autonomy (which is often part of respect), enough flexibility to show regard for employees as people, and quality opportunities to learn, grow, and even advance.  At Great Place to Work, we often get disheartened by the media fascination with free food, foosball, pet insurance, and the like, when the companies that make it on our Best Companies to Work For lists, make it there because employees rated management high in credibility, respect, and fairness, enjoy a good deal of pride in the company and the work they do, and the camaraderie enjoyed among colleagues.  

  2. Hi Tim – thanks for being real and just saying it out loud. After 30 years in the business world, I can’t believe we still have not lifted employee development to the top of menu. What is it about putting employees first, so they (in turn) can put customers first that we just don’t get?

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