Your 2 Cents

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

A while back, I realized that it was time to bring others on board. I could no longer grow my speaking business alone, especially if I wanted to be successful and make this work as a full-time profession. I needed to focus more on the things I was good at, the things that only I could do that would take me to the next level. The other obligations related to being an entrepreneur needed to be farmed out, delegated, taken care of by someone else.

To do this, I decided to hire a couple of interns. I still have interns working with me to this day, but when these very first ones came on board, of course, one of the things we discussed was their pay. I told them an amount, they agreed to it, and we all rolled our sleeves up and went to work.

While this is how a lot of work-related relationships begin, it soon became clear that these new helpers were expecting the exact amount of money I told them they would make. In other words, they didn’t realize that, at some point, we needed to calculate payroll taxes and deduct the necessary amount from their pay. They thought that the amount I gave them in our pre-employment negotiations was the amount they’d receive on the face of their check, fully ready to be spent in any way they deemed fit or necessary.

Although most employers would likely say, “Tough break kid; Uncle Sam wants to get paid so I have to take the money out of your check,” that just didn’t sit right with me. These interns were working hard and they expected what I had promised them. That only left me one choice, to live up to that promise and give them exactly what I said I would.

Since I specifically told them what the amount would be, I absorbed their taxes and paid them that original number we’d discussed prior to being hired. Just because their take home pay decreased, morally I needed to give them what they expected, what I told them they would receive.

As is often said, “don’t be pennywise, pound foolish.” In other words, don’t be cheap, especially when it comes to people who can help you grow your business. And if we make a commitment and someone is expecting something specific from us dollar-wise, then that is exactly what needs to be delivered. Besides, those extra few dollars that I have paid is worth so much more to them than it is to me.

Not to mention, had I chosen to take the other route and simply taken the taxes from their pay, what would my word mean to them? Would they always be looking for the fine print when I spoke to them, uncertain if what I said and what would actually happen would be a match?

I don’t want that type of relationship with the people I work with. Instead, I want them to know that I live up to my obligations, even if I don’t technically have to. I want them to feel comfortable with me as a person, as well as an employer. Now the only question left to answer is: How does your staff feel about you?


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