Lower Salary Companies and Worker Retention

I want to take a moment to discuss employee retention and company awareness. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with several companies who place different values on employee retention. While all of them wanted to keep their employees, some were more committed to that than others.

I want to focus on 2 companies, which I won’t name.

Company A has a younger, less experienced work force than their competitors and has a salary structure commensurate with that lack of experience. They also have a self-imposed salary cap which creates a higher turn over year after year. This creates its own sets of challenges, but with an intentional training program, interview process, and screening process they are able to remain competitive. The cost of this culture is employee engagement, after all, regardless of how well you excel, your only promotion is going to be done by leaving the company. The employees begin their employment being thankful and loyal, but over time they realize that this company is really just a launch platform where they can learn and gain valuable experience.

Company B is similar to Company A in that they pay less than their competitors, but they have a much stronger desire to retain their employees and are disheartened when an employee chooses to leave.  They are in a highly competitive market, but feel that they can’t afford to increase salaries. The interesting thing about Company B is that they have low turn over rates. Why is that? Well, despite the slight irritability the employees have knowing they could make more elsewhere, they do feel like they are a part of a family and that their opinion matters. Company B is willing to make special considerations for their employees such as allowing an employee who coaches a youth sports team to leave work early without penalty during the sport’s season. They allow people to learn other jobs in the company and promote from within. The culture that Company B built is often very difficult to find elsewhere, and putting a price on that is very difficult. This is the key reason the employees choose to stay even when they are fully aware, and the company fully admits, that they pay less than their competitors.

Company A and Company B both have the same challenges. However, Company B discovered a method to retain their employees while Company A has chosen to be a short-term employer.

*previously published on LinkedIn

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