For entrepreneurs and employers salaries and wages is mostly seen as a line item on the income statement that represents an operating expense. And as such it is often seen as something that should be kept as low as possible.
For employees however, their salary or wage represents the single most important number on their household budget.
Herein lies the challenge to arrive at a point which is fair and equitable towards both parties.
For all intents and purposes, if an employee receives his or her salary, but fails to deliver the desired and agreed upon output, he or she is “stealing” money from the employer. Similarly, if the employer pays the employee less than what he or she deserves for the contribution made towards the organisation, that employer is “stealing” time and effort from the employee. Both of these scenarios present an unfair challenge. Some thoughts that could be considered when determining what I should pay my employees are the following:
- Never take advantage of a naïve or desperate person. It results in an unsustainable situation that is not worth the effort. Exploiting anybody is simply wrong.
- An employee with a higher level of income stands to lose more should that income no longer be at his or her disposal – naturally such an employee would value his or her position and career more and look after it, and indirectly also after the interests of the organisation and employer.
- Paying someone a reasonable amount is acceptable. Reality and practical and financial constraints determine that one cannot always pay people what you would like to pay them. Be open and honest with employees about this – after all people work for more than simply money. Factors such as recognition, respect and challenges also come into consideration.
Do what you can for your employees, and they might very well do more than you expect for your organisation. “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all…” – Former President Nelson Mandela