Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Startups need to lead on the issue of pay - not follow

In light of a story that has appeared in the news today about wealth, I'm looking at leadership on the issue of pay.

Oxfam report that the richest 1% now has as much wealth as the other 99% combined. This is a moral issue that affects every business, and I believe that it is a leadership issue. Every business has the moral obligation to look after the people that work for them. It's not just pay (which a lot of companies need to go much further on) but working conditions, time off, work-life balance and benefits.

At this moment in time, the UK economy is hugely skewed towards business - particularly big business. Media stories regularly show big business not paying their fair share of tax. The minimum wage has served it's purpose and needs to be replaced by the living wage. The taxpayer is subsidising people with a family to work for these companies through working tax credit.

It's time to take a lead.

So what does this mean for my startup business?

I truly believe that poor pay has a hugely de-motivating effect for workers. You need to think about the kind of pay, incentives, working conditions and benefits you will offer your future employees. It's in your interest to have happy and motivated workers.

I suggest that you build a good pay structure into your business plans from the outset. I have an example from a friend who set up a business which employed programmers from India. He used two programmers, trained them up and paid them an OK wage for Indian employees, who lived in India. After a while, these trained programmers left to set up their own companies. This pattern repeated a few times until my friend decided to control the situation. He paid a higher salary than normal Indian employees would get (but still at a much lower cost than he would have to in the UK) and has kept the same two programmers for years.

You may not be employing Indian programmers in your start up but the message is the same-

Happy, motivated and valued employees are more productive and less likely to leave.

There's a message that we can all get on board with!

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