How To Keep The Best People When You Can't Pay Top Dollar

Four ideas on how to keep a staff happy and productive when you can not afford to pay them the full emoluments they deserve. The list is not closed, and one should be willing to add other perquisites to keep the staff happy and dispel resentment. An underpaid employee often costs the business more than twice the salary they ought have gotten.

When 'you pay peanuts'  you don't get 'monkeys', you get termites.  You get a staff that seethes with resentment, that is unproductive and is more than likely to sabotage your business.  They will take the pittance you pay them, and turn out less work than you paid for of the comparable quality.  they will never go the extra inch, much less mile.  They will try to be as late as they can get away with, leave as early as they can, take as long a lunch break, and abuse everything in their realm.

When you know you should pay $XXX but can only afford $XX you are going to have to be creative.  You are going to have to give a little bit more than you are prepared to so that your staff wants to work for you.

These are a few tips that work.

The 'Seven Hour Day'.

Instead of working 9 to 5 they work 9 to 4.   They still get their lunch hour, so you actually get six hours of work, instead of seven. However, considering that you are not paying them what they should be earning it out to round off in your favour.

The 'Four Day Week'

When your staff is getting that much less than they ought to, working a four day week is the only way out. On occasion you can ask them to come in on their 'free day', but only do this on rare occasions. Many employees will relish the 'free day', and this will keep them loyal to you, despite the fact they could earn more elsewhere. 

The 'Long Vacation'

Giving the staff a three week vacation is a way to offset a shortfall in salary.  It is not as effective as the weekly benefits in working 7 hour days or 4 day weeks, but does have some offsetting positive result for the first year.   Sometimes, when it is senseless to be open at particular points in the year where there is virtually no custom giving paid or partially paid vacations is useful.  But again, four months down the road they might forget the 'free week' and remember they are being ripped off.

'Free Transportation'

Collecting them for work and dropping them home is useful when you can't pay them what you should.  They can calculate their 'savings' on transport costs,

These are just four ideas, and coupled with others that you can create will keep your staff operating at optimum until you can afford to pay them what they should be earning.


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