Earn More than a Paycheck

December 29, 2014 at 9:51 pm 2 comments

paycheck_-_stockAccording to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2.7 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in October 2014. Many articles post reasons why people quit but if that many people are quitting – an important question might be how do you entice people to stay?  This post is not about benefits, recognition, or other tangible gifts, it’s about something we all have in our power to provide starting as early as tomorrow.  Give them more than a paycheck.  Money passes hands every day but a development opportunity will last a (professional) lifetime.

Another post in the near future is how to decide when it’s time to quit your job – and if you feel like you are not growing professionally – that’s a strong indicator.

A few guiding principles that I live by:

1. No one comes to work to intentionally do low-quality work.

2. No one feels entirely satisfied by their paycheck.

3. Education is a life-long commitment.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would back this up.  Quality of work, satisfaction in a job well done, and appreciation by peers would fit into the Love & Belong and Esteem areas of the pyramid. One way to increase the quality of work, sense of professional growth, and admiration by your peers is to learn (and use) new skills.

Development opportunities can be stretch assignments that position them for a new role.  It could be a job shadowing opportunity in an area of the business that they have an interest in.  It might even be a chance for them to take something off your plate that they might enjoy more than you do.  I have found some good ideas in the book, “FYI: For Your Improvement“(pricey but worth it). The point is to challenge them, and you, to find something every few weeks that they can do to enrich themselves.  They should have some “skin in the game” too – it’s not all about what their manager assigns to them.  Ask them to come to their 1-on-1 with ideas of big & small things they could do to grow.  Keep track of what they have undertaken so you can have a rich discussion about what they have learned throughout the year, and what areas they might want to still explore.

You should be considering the same thing for yourself. What areas of development have you invested in lately? If your manager is not bringing this up with you, you might want to bring it up in a 1-on-1. If they aren’t interested in participating, you may want to consider your employment options.  In the meantime, you could find peers in your organization who might want to work together on development plans.  Sometimes just having another person to discuss your plans with can help drive a stronger sense of accountability.

This may all sound like a lot of work still.  To me, it is one of the differences between managing and leading.  Managing means getting results with what you have, whereas leading is setting a path that others want to follow with you (picking up new skills along the way).  If you track the development opportunities that you and your team have undertaken throughout the year (keep it simple – an Excel spreadsheet, a draft email that you just keep around, sticky notes – anything), you can use this data as the input into their annual performance reviews as well as yours.  Great story to tell of how you grew your team’s abilities throughout the year, while delivering quality results, and preparing them to take on more in the next year (and likely, without spending much money).

A few months into it this effort, ask your team members what they’ve added to their resume or LinkedIn profile lately.  Why avoid this topic – we all have resumes and most everyone has a LinkedIn profile.  Help your team develop these assets versus ignoring the fact that they exist.  Their strong LinkedIn profile actually benefits you when others are checking out your employees to decide if they want to work at your company.  And in reality, if they are going to quit, isn’t it better to have them telling the story of how their supportive management team (you) at their past employer, enabled them to grow to take on their new role with their new employer – what a great story to be told and hopefully overheard by someone who might just be your next great recruit!


Entry filed under: Career Development, Leadership, Management, Professional Development. Tags: , , , .

Be Purposeful Grateful

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. michaelrdotme  |  January 2, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Good article Jenni! I finally had time to read it fully. I will be interested to read your future article about knowing if it is time to quit. I have been pondering this thought as well from a grander point of view. I bet you will hit on my primary consideration as well.

    Keep them coming.

  • […] higher) salaries. (Not selfish – they get the skills and you get the work product – go read about how people deserve more than a paycheck).  Rarely, if ever, will the person that you hire be 100% perfect. Everyone has room to grow. […]


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