A few people have left. Or I should say a few good people have left. Yes, the company has tried to stop them but well, when people decide to go it’s usually way too late.
The next station is realizing that people are gone. Well, they will still come to the office for a couple of weeks but they are gone. Gone. If you wanted to change their minds you should have worked with them a few months earlier.
And then there comes the idea that you should at least take care about those who are still here. When people leave, their colleagues start thinking about leaving too. That’s how it works.
So we come to the point where most of managers use tools they have to keep retention on reasonable level. Quite often they use the only tool they think they have, which is money. “That should keep them motivated for some time. And they won’t leave either.”
Yes, except it isn’t true.
As I think more about money and motivation I’m closer and closer to Dan Pink’s approach: pay enough to get the money off the table and then focus on things which really motivate people. By the way if you haven’t seen Dan Pink’s TED talk about the subject you really should do it now.
OK, so what kind of effects you should see when you throw more money at people? For some of them it would take the money problem off the table. Will it keep them in the company in the long run? I don’t know. You are either able to build creative, motivating work environment or you aren’t and raise won’t change anything in the long run.
For others money wasn’t the issue in the first place. They will happily accept raise, that’s for sure, but is it going to change their approach? Not so much.
Now you can point a number of examples when someone you know has changed jobs purely for money. I think they fall into the first group. The only difference is in their cases money was a major problem and not a minor one. Bigger salary doesn’t make them motivated – it just gets the problem off the table. It isn’t guarantee that they won’t eventually leave. If your organization suck they will. You can buy a few months but the outcome is going to be the same – they will be gone soon.
In short: if you have a big bag of money you can make people stop complaining about their salaries, but you won’t make highly motivated top performers out of them.
I know people who are leaving with no change in remuneration whatsoever. Heck, if you look for people who changed job and got lower salary in the new place I’m one of examples. And yes, I’d do it again. I’ve never left any organization (or project) for money, even though sometimes it was an issue.
If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. If the only tool you have is money, every problem seems to be solvable with cash.
But then you see teams which don’t get any bonus money whatsoever and they’re motivated and those which spend days complaining about lack of bonus money. All in the same organization. They are even paid basically the same. I see two possible explanations: one supports argument above and the other includes words “black magic.”
If people go, you won’t change that if the only thing you can think of is throwing more money at them. Unless you’re paying peanuts, that is.