A very well-known culture survey (not Choose People’s) asks team members to assess the following statement: I am paid fairly.

Be careful what you assess.

The term “fair” exists in comparison.  In comparison to my co-workers.  In comparison to my friends.  In comparison to hearsay regarding what other organizations in this industry pay.  In comparison to what I’d hoped I would be making by the time I turned X age.  This is a slippery mental chute to send your team down.

  • First, know that you should easily be able to speak to why someone is compensated more or less than someone else on your team.
  • Second, know that team members will share their compensation with one another. Do not attempt to discourage sharing of compensation.  That’s weird, controlling and indicates you have something to hide and cannot speak to #1.
  • Third, compensation doesn’t even rank in the Top 8 Factors for having employees feel good about coming to work. Your efforts to recruit and retain top talent and build an extraordinary workplace culture are often better spent elsewhere.  Of all the organizations I’ve worked with over my nine years of doing this work – there have been only two companies where I included in my culture recommendations to give everyone a raise.  Team members were leaving for 50 cents more and it simply didn’t make economic sense with the cost of turnover.
  • Rather than have team members questioning and evaluating if they’re being paid fairly -consider asking, “Overall, are you content with your compensation commensurate (in proportion) to your contribution to the organization?” Please note – unlike the Choose People survey this is not a research-based statistically validated survey question, rather a different approach to uncovering your team’s perception of their compensation.

Another Culture Tip you may be interested in: How to Mitigate Money Stories.


And if you want to learn more here’s an excerpt of Chapter 14 of Culture Works: Crack the Compensation Code where I touch on how to “Compensate for Value and Versatility.”  Other topics covered in this chapter include:

  • Bandwidth Compensation to Value Your Best Producers
  • Decide How Compensation is Determined
  • Avoid Extortion and Support Those Who Want to Leave
  • Define How Raises are Determined
  • Choose Compensation Package Options
  • Beware of Profit Sharing, Bonuses, Commissions and Incentives

Coming Soon…

The team at Choose People has been working on some extraordinary culture goodness over this past year and we are beyond excited to share this goodness with you. On 9/9/19, we will exclusively reveal to you, our loyal culture followers, our latest innovation – The Culture Works System. Here’s to one big step closer to shifting the national conversation around work from one of misery to one of joy!