The Value of People

I don't know why I thought of this, but I wanted to share a memory. My first job was at a hamburger joint and when my performance review came up my manager told me that a $0.10 raise per hour was normal, then asked how much I thought I deserved. I said ten cents. He asked why. I told him he could find anyone to flip burgers and mop the floor. He said true, but good employees are hard to find, and they do more per hour and thus are worth more. He said that someone like me would have plenty of other opportunities and he would have to raise my pay quickly to keep me. I got 40 cents or something, I don't remember exactly. But I learned a valuable lesson about people and pay. Good people really are worth more. In the long-run, your people can be your sustainable competitive advantage. (Think of the NY Yankees, or the Chicago Bulls in the 90s – it's the same thing in business) Companies that pay bad wages and have high turnover often think they are "keeping costs down." Maybe so, but they are keeping morale and productivity down at the same time.