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Humareso Blog

For the Love of Money

Is money the only reward we push?  I have had the consistent message of money in my face all week.  Money is all over the place and is a constant source of stress for individuals, couples, families and businesses.  Just look at the US Government; the shut down is all about money.  Who has it and who does not.
Everyone wants to make more and spend more.  Powerball and MegaMillions are national stories every week.  We want so much to make "bank." We regard success as based upon how much you make and what that gets you.  As I sit in Miami today, I see tons of Maseratis, Porsches and beyond.  The status behind the stuff has value here and elsewhere.

Remember the first season of The Apprentice?  A bunch of people gathered together to learn from Donald Trump as to how to be successful (dysfunctional) business people.  It was a hit and we were glued.  And the main push for each "employee"?  Money.

And the rub is that most surveys show that compensation is not the primary driver for employees.  How can this be?  If we all want stuff and need cash-money to make it happen, then that should be tops, right?  Instead, we see recognition, efficiency, loyalty, purpose and effectiveness as tops on various reports and surveys.  Money cannot buy these things (the Mob tried to do this and it didn't work for do we expect it to work for us?).
So, why the intense efforts around compensation as opposed to these other higher scoring characteristics?  Two realities seem to jump out to me.
First, putting the time into efficiency and effectiveness, for example, takes more time.  We seem to be okay to throw money at a problem or situation, sometimes even without a plan.  But, the thought of putting efforts into strategizing and being deliberate about enacting change is exhausting.  Here's the deal, though, if we don't start doing it, these same people will continue to leave our companies and take the knowledge, skills and aptitudes that we need.  As much as the effort costs, in terms of time and prioritization, we need to do it.

Set aside time to sketch out the framework of strategy around talent management.  Consider opportunities to influence recognition and purpose.  How can employees have some input in these areas?  Generate buy-in through inclusion.  Ask for ideas around efficiency and then recognize those great ideas.

But the second issue could be the executive team.  You may be on point with the planning component  and put together a framework, but when you presented it to senior leadership, they said "oh, thank you."  And after that, it went to the bottom of a pile never to be shown the light of day again.  So, what to do?  Build a business case.  Use real numbers around engaged employees versus non-engaged.  Use benchmark data to show stats behind your perspective.  Make it real to the bottom line.

Measure what productivity has been like over the past five years.  Is it down?  Up?  Why?  Just lucky?  More demand?  Great talent?  How do you know?  Answer those questions and you can start to lay a foundation for the business case.

Let's be deliberate in our business partnership in this arena.  We know what is ultimately driving employees and money is not the top answer.  By the way, I am not saying it doesn't matter because it does (it kinda helps to be able to pay your mortgage, you know?).  However, from a percentage standpoint, we spend more time on comp analysis and related issues than we do running after the real top answers.  Money is important, but it is not the primary motivator. We know it so let's act on what we know.