Let’s Discuss Compensation


Let’s Discuss Compensation

In the world of operations, certain if not the majority of tasks are specialized and require specific training and/or certification, like in the case of a flight line mechanic, a welder or an expert in electronics, video and sound. Additionally companies provide certain on-the-job training (OJT) that helps round up employees’ knowledge and that are based on regulatory requirements, company’s processes and procedures, industry standards and so on.

Such a combination of training requires time and dedication and once an employee has obtained the necessary skills, the daily application will enhance and solidify this knowledge.

But there’s nothing more discouraging for anyone who ever held a job than to feel trapped in a dead-end role with nothing to look forward to. In which case, not only the possibility of a higher compensation is non-existent, but the dread of having to do this same thing day-in and day-out can break a person’s spirit.

Most people thrive with challenges and having the opportunity of learning a new skill and developing our knowledge further. The chance to grow professionally can be an exciting one.

Develop talent from within – map out a plan and honor the system

The manufacturing industry requires a skilled workforce that goes through very specific training and carries the torch for the generations to come. Yet the younger generations demand more. A key element to attack, engage and motivate teams is to have a clear path of career advancement, whether this include a certain level of college or trade school, combined with OJT that clearly defines the steps they need to follow in order to advance their careers within the organization and at the same time increase their earning potential.

Giving people opportunities to grow within the organization increases morale and employee satisfaction and therefore retention. It also creates benchmarks for the industry and in our current world where social media can be our ally or foe, using a tool like LinkedIn to showcase a team member’s success story can also help to solidify customer loyalty.

People love people who are committed to do the right thing, and doing right by our own people, should be our first priority as leaders…yes, I will continue to beat this drum.

Create added-value for the organization

A vital trait of a bulletproof team is having the understanding that higher value is linked to higher compensation. It is simple math. An employee is an individual selling a service to an organization for an agreed amount of money. Like with any contract, default from any of the parties will set ground for such agreement to be terminated. In other words, an unhappy employee will quit or an unhappy employer will terminate the individual’s employment. In either case both parties lose.

Leaders have to understand the value of each one of their team members and equate that value in the monetary cost the business will suffer if such talent walks out the door.

Underpaid employees are never happy employees, they will put up with the situation for a period of time, but don’t expect loyalty if none is given to them,  they will walk out even for only an extra dollar an hour, plain and simple.

As a leader one of the first things I do when starting leading a new team is assess their roles versus their compensation, based on current market standards. Understanding where your team is financially, is an invaluable tool.

I call this exercise the Talent Retention Study. It takes time to put together and get all the intel in place, but it shows your team, especially those that have been low-balled and that you help bring up, that you respect and value their contribution. This not only improves their working conditions and their personal financial situation, but is a great building block to start building trust and loyalty.

And I understand that some leaders are trapped in organizations that don’t want anything to do with increasing hourly rates for the blue collar employees (ugh, I dread the term). Yet remember what we’ve discussed in previous posts, good leaders, servant leaders are willing to go to the mattresses for their teams. This is a fight worth having.

This is one crucial conversation you need to have and one of your best alleys is the fact that numbers talk. Increased productivity and increased performance are always attractive openings for such conversations. Calculate the time and money it will cost to recruit, hire, and train a new employee, instead of just paying them a fair rate. Specific skills don’t grow on trees, they are acquired with time and time is the only asset we can never get back.

Nobody loses when the whole team wins

True leaders are more concerned about their team members being compensated fairly for their efforts than for their own. Are you willing to negotiate your compensation and fringe benefits? I know you are. Then do it for the ones you are now responsible for and see greatness unfold. Grateful people are happy people. Be loyal to them first if you want to earn their loyalty, you are in most cases, unless they are unionized, their spokesperson, believe in them and fight for them, they’ll do the same for you in the long run.

Taking the time to assess fair compensation is crucial. Talent retention is crucial. We are moving farther and farther away from the industrial model and the great resignation is upon us. The old loyalty in which people started with a company fresh out of high school or college and retired there is not the norm anymore. The workforce is changing and leaders need to be willing to change and adapt. The old status quo is not cutting it anymore. People quit bosses, more often than they quit companies.

“If you help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.”

Zig Ziglar

Thanks for reading and God bless,




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