I am happy to share my thoughts on Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans.
I find it so fun that the concepts in this book are presented as “ABCs” of leadership. For instance, “A” is for “Ask” which reminds leaders to ask themselves, “Do you know what they really want?” The book leads us through “D” for “Dignity” (In how many ways do you show you respect them [your employees]?), “P” for “Passion” (Do you know what gets them up every morning?”) through, finally, “Z” for “Zenith” (How will you sustain your commitment to engagement?).
I could write an individual post on each letter of the alphabet and its related leadership parallel, but based on the comments to my post last week, I think it’s best to expound tonight on the idea that money isn’t the primary reason people stay at an employer.
One of the first exercises I participated in when I began the Certified Public Manager program was one that focused on ranking my personal values. Once I had done that, the group compiled all of their responses to this exercise. Although our “number ones” differed from one another, in almost all of the cases, “money” or “salary” was five, six, or lower. Most attendees were surprised at this answer.
In this book, Kaye and Jordan-Evans cover the topic of pay in the “A” for “Ask” chapter. They note that “pay” is number seven on a list of reasons people give for staying in their organizations (exciting/challenging/meaningful work is number one)*.
This is certainly true for me. You know those people who say, “going to work doesn’t feel like going to work because I love it so much”? There’s something to that. I see it in the acting community … in the people who show up, completely for free, to volunteer on a set, to be an extra, to do a favor for a producer who needs a certain line said or role played. Sure there are actors who make big money, but in many cases I dare say they would do most of what they do for free, just because it brings them joy. It’s why I get up early and connect via Twitter as “The Optimism Light.” It’s why I write blog posts for various causes I love, not because I get compensated financially but because it brings me joy to “connect the dots” between people, causes, and themes.
I’ve heard it in organizations. If only we got a 5% raise this year. If only my performance were recognized with a bonus. A person with two degrees is making more than me even though she does half the work. It’s not fair. People in private industry have so many more perks. Or, conversely: People in public service have the thrill of a cause to work for. In my opinion, although there is some truth to all of those statements, a “Love ‘Em” leader can dig a little deeper and find some other motivator that would retain the individual or at least to understand what issues are behind the person’s “if only” statements. And a manager who becomes adept at doing that is a manager who is less likely to “Lose ‘Em.”
What keeps you at an employer? If you are a supervisor, what strategies have you found to ascertain what makes employees “tick”?
It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.
*For the complete “what kept you” survey data, visit www.keepem.com and click on the “What Kept You” link.
I received a complimentary copy of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.