I am not addressing the economic crisis, nor am I trying to define the value of a dollar.
A few years ago, as an in-house HR business partner, I was conducting an exit interview with a line technician (Let’s call him Simon). I’ve known Simon for about a year or so, and we’ve had lunch on several occasions.
In that interview, Simon was very truthful and straightforward in his answers and I was somewhat brought back to reality on the importance of a good manager and a warm friendly environment.
Simon brings home about a thousand dollars every month. Considering that he’s had a new born baby, I know that he’s been putting in extra overtime hours whenever possible. He is a smart and diligent individual and was given extra responsibilities in his area of work.
However, I knew that he wasn’t getting along well with his department head (Let’s call him John). Not that he’s having any direct confrontation with John or anything. It’s just the environment that was created by John. He practically micromanages every single detail.
John is not an easy going person as well. At times, talking to him can be rather intimidating. Simon doesn’t report to him directly. In fact, there are two other persons in between Simon and John. An engineer that Simon reports to, and a manager that the engineer reports to.
In the exit interview, Simon shared with me his plans. The company that he’s going to is much smaller in size and the salary’s about 20% lower. The overtime may be good, but it’s due to the fact that they’re running a sweatshop. On the whole, Simon will be putting more hours for pretty much the same pay.
How does all this equate to a better opportunity? I am not convinced by the fact that he’s taking a pay cut to join a smaller company and he’s feeling good about it.
He refers to his career move to being released from prison, saying that “a dollar earned there” is the same as “a dollar earned here. I put in the hours and I get my pay at the end of the month. The difference? I don’t have to put up with all this!”
I was sad to see him go. The last I checked, he’s still at that smaller company. He’s a much happier person now. He’s gotten his promotion and had been rewarded with a slightly better package.
I guess we all know that the environment is important, and most people quit on their managers and such. But it will be a while more before we can put all this knowledge into practice. There is no silver bullet to creating a superb working environment, but what I do know is – “A happy employee is a productive employee”.