I recently gave a keynote to a company called Curo Comp. It was about truth versus reality when it comes to talking about money at work. I’m so jazzed about this topic that I wanted to tell you about it.
Years ago, I interviewed for a job and the VP of HR was full of himself. At the end of the interview, I asked him what differentiated their HR department from others. He gave a long answer full of buzzwords, but he didn’t believe in any of it. That was in 2004, but even now every trend I read about human resources and compensation uses those buzzwords. It makes them all feel like lies.
In my keynote, I had to tell the audience that those trends were lies. I had to tell them that everything they aspirationally believe in is a lie. It was difficult, but it’s true. It’s important to disclose the lies and talk about where we stand and where we can go in the future. So, tune in and let’s talk about it.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- The lie that equal pay and transparency matter.
- The two things we’re terrible at in the workforce: evaluating and recognizing performance.
- Why technology really doesn’t do anything.
- The realities of money at work.
- What we can do as a result of those realities.
WHAT IS THE FIRST LIE ABOUT MONEY AT WORK?
The first lie about money at work is that equal pay and transparency matter. We have a whole history behind us that shows us that nobody really cares about equal pay and transparency and that if they did, it wouldn’t be that hard to fix it. For example, Salesforce recently did an analysis of their employees. They created a much more organized, transparent system where they really aligned people with what they’re doing, what the job description says, and how they’re paying them. It turned out that there were a lot of opportunities to pay women and people of color more money. So, the hard part isn’t the process. The hard part is the decision and the commitment to do it.
WHAT IS THE SECOND LIE ABOUT MONEY AT WORK?
The second lie we tell ourselves is that there should be more bonuses and more short term incentives for regular workers. We say, “Executives have all of these bonuses, so we’re going to start recognizing performance in the moment. We’re going to offer people a little bit of cash or some stock options to get them excited about work.” However, it turns out that we are terrible at two things: evaluating and recognizing performance. If we could evaluate performance in real-time, or even retroactively, our compensation systems would look completely different and our relationships with employees would be much better. Instead, we just default to our biases. We’re also awful at recognition. Many of us say that all employees just want to be thanked and that they don’t want money. However, it turns out employees are just like executives. They would like some short term incentives too.
WHAT IS THE THIRD LIE ABOUT MONEY AT WORK?
The third lie about money at work is that technology will drive all of the strategies behind fixing things. It turns out that technology doesn’t do anything, though. There are so many HR departments with no answers and no moral backbone that say what they need is a new system. This won’t fix anything.
WHAT IS THE FIRST REALITY OF MONEY FOR WORK?
The first reality around money at work is that transparency is going to hit us all. Everyone is demanding that we be honest with them and stop lying to them. If we don’t already believe in transparency, it is going to hit us like a truck. At some point, advocates for the truth and the future of work are going to be in positions of power. They are going to dismantle structures that exist. So, you’re either for it now or you’re going to be named later when you were late to the party.
WHAT IS THE SECOND REALITY OF MONEY FOR WORK?
The second reality of money at work is that compassion and empathy are no longer buzzwords. They’re the new operating model for the world of work. If you run an organization where white men in positions of power earn ridiculously more money than the average worker, you’re over. This is not a sustainable way of operating your business. Glassdoor, Indeed, and other places where people can talk about you won’t matter. In reality, people can talk about you anywhere. You must be prepared to be called out if you are not operating with compassion and empathy.
WHAT IS THE SECOND REALITY OF MONEY FOR WORK?
The final reality for the world of work and money is that self-leadership is the ultimate competency. We are living in a world where everybody’s at home, working remotely. The workforce of one company is now all over the world. Therefore, we need to incentivize and recognize individuals who can problem solve and get their work done without a heavy dependency on the team. Yet, everything about our global corporate structures makes people seem like children. We’ve really got to rethink how we talk to people, how we work with them, and how we reward them. Self-leadership is the thing that is going to change the world of work. It is going to be the thing that actually moves organizations forward.
Resources from this episode: