How Much Should You Pay a Great Employee?
This could be a very brief blog post, because the answer to that question is simple: As much as it takes to keep them working happily at your company.
In other words, the normal scales and benchmarks may not apply. That’s because the definition of a great employee is “one who consistently delivers above and beyond the normal boundaries.” “Normal” just doesn’t cut it for abnormally excellent performers. Make no mistake: You don’t want great performers; you NEED them, more than they need you. And if you don’t reward them well, someone else will.
In an instance recounted by David Halberstam in his book The Breaks of the Game, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney, when asked about what the questioner thought was an exorbitant salary he’d offered an as yet untested player named Lynn Swann, answered: "You can never overpay a good player. You can only overpay a bad one. I don't mind paying a good player $200,000. What I mind is paying a $20,000 player $22,000." Lynn Swann, of course, went on to become a member of four Steeler Superbowl winners before entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Would the Steelers have won al those Superbowls without Swann?
There’s another saying we like that applies: “We’re all working on commission; some of us just don’t know it.” Consider how much your remarkable performers earn for your company. Then pay them like you mean it.