There was recently an article in the Irish Times, discussing staff shortages and the benefits of paying staff what they are worth. While I’m not sure the quote was intended to spark discussion, it certainly has.
The topic of “paying people what they’re worth” comes up over and over again in recruitment, and while everyone can agree paying people properly for their time is right and has countless benefits, some employers and hiring managers don’t properly seem to understand what that means. How much is experience worth? What is your staff willing to put up with, for that pay? Are they paid enough to be loyal?
To understand what it means to pay someone their “worth” we first should understand what this “worth” is, and how it’s measured.
We measure an employee’s worth by calculating their skills, experience, what that is worth to your business and on the free market. What does an employee, their experience and their labour bring to your business.
So how do you know if you’re truly paying someone what they’re worth? Complying with wage laws in just the beginning. Minimum wage does not always attract those with the skills and experience desired by the employer, so what can you do instead? Do you offer salary increases often, to coincide with the gaining of experience? As an employee gains experience specific to the job, their understanding of and accommodation to the company culture, makes the employee more valuable and periodic raises may be awarded to reflect this increased value. Do you offer training or retraining? Are there other benefits you can give your employees?
When reading the Irish Times article, it’s mentioned new hires in a specific pub are offered €10 an hour, while experienced staff can earn up to €13. Is their years of experience really only worth €3 more an hour? For late nights, dealing with rowdy or unruly customers, for always being asked to work weekends, bank holidays and Christmas Eve?
A report from the Peterson Institute of International Economics concludes that higher wages motivate employees to work harder, creates the conditions for workers to be more productive and improve morale.
Higher wages lead to lower turnover, reducing the costs of hiring and training new workers.
Higher wages attract more capable and productive workers. So why complain that when offering €10 you only receive applications from young, low-experience workers, when there is proof that higher wages draws in a more experienced crowd, who will require less training and give more back to the company? The evidence is clear.
This discussion is being brought up again, now that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is being reduced from September 7th, and places are beginning to wonder if staff will return now that they are not receiving €350 a week. Will they be incentivized once they are earning less? Many young people were happy to receive such a large sum for not working, and now appear to want more when they do return to work.
But will businesses be able to afford this? Francisco Reiss of the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone hopes to be able to pay staff a less competitive salary, but workers won’t be willing to return to the workforce for less. So, what are the staff worth?
When you have been receiving €350 a week for over a year while not working, why would you return to work for anything less? Workers have been told they are worth more, after years of settling for less. Now, their minds cannot be changed back.
Employers should be reminded you are not only paying for labour when paying a salary. You are paying for the hours late at night, the commute, for dealing with angry or unruly customers, for duties not included in the job description that arise unexpectedly, and lastly, for putting yourself at risk during a global pandemic.
A recent report from AIB states that consumers nationwide spent €395,000 an hour in pubs and restaurants, a growth of up to 30% across the hospitality industry. If the owners are seeing this growth and increase, why should their staff not also benefit?
Pay alone cannot guarantee satisfaction. If you pay well and offer benefits, that generates loyalty and a strong connection to the company. You must also ensure you are giving perks, benefits, good management, and a friendly work environment. These will generate more good will than cash alone.
If there’s one thing employers should learn from this pandemic and lockdowns, is that staff know their worth.