idea might seem paradoxical, another way to convey the same sen-
timent is to say that employees want to feel that they are making a
valuable contribution at work. In many cases, being needed and
having one’s needs met are closely related.
Some of the survey respondents indicated that more money,
regardless of other factors, will keep them loyal to a job for some
time. But organizations have to be careful with this option; buying
loyalty can have implications beyond the immediate beneﬁt of
keeping people in their positions. For example, who isn’t getting
the raise? Even if you try to prevent discussion and comparison of
compensation packages, you know that people talk with each other
and ﬁnd out if someone in the same position is getting a better
deal. Employees do in fact get raises (and other perks) when they
come in with an offer letter from another company (what people
used to call “telegram-waving”). But how does this make their peers
feel? Unfortunately, getting some people to stay by paying them
more may have an unintended adverse effect on the whole group.
What should you do if there is someone whom you really want
to keep but who you know is going to leave no matter what? Why
not tell the person how great you think she is, and how impressive
it is that she is taking control of her own development and career?
As we discussed in the chapter on loyalty, why not tell her that she
should call you in a few years to discuss coming back to the orga-
nization? Even if she never calls, she will leave feeling that you re-
spect her and appreciate her talent and contribution. An employee
leaving with a good impression of the organization (and of you as
someone in that organization) can do nothing but good things for
your reputation as a boss and for the reputation of your organiza-
tion as a place that respects and appreciates talent.
If You Are an Employee on the Verge of Changing Jobs
If you are an employee who is increasingly dissatisﬁed at work,
there are a few things you need to think about. You might even
want to write down your thoughts—sometimes forcing yourself to
write everything down makes the situation clearer.
• What exactly is it that you aren’t happy about? Be speciﬁc.
Is your boss the problem? If so, can you move to report to
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Do you feel as if work that used to be interesting is now
boring because you’re not learning anything? Is there re-
ally nothing else to learn on the job? What can you do so
that you can learn more? Do you know what you need to
be learning to make the next move in your career?
Do you feel that your organization doesn’t appreciate your
contribution? Frankly, this is common. Do you feel that
your boss doesn’t appreciate your contribution? Do you
think he means to be giving you that message, or is it that
he’s just really busy and hasn’t thought about it? Do you
feel that your peers appreciate you? What about your direct
reports? What would people need to be doing to make you
Is the compensation inadequate? We’re not talking inade-
quate as in “less that you’d like” (we’d all like to make
more—even if we already make a ton); we’re talking about
inadequate as in “My quality of life is seriously damaged by
what I’m being paid.” For some people, compensation has
to do with basic survival and paying their bills. For others,
making more money is a tangible reﬂection of how much
their organization values their contribution. You need to
decide what compensation means to you and exactly how
important it is.
• Why do you think the new job would be better?
What do you think you would get there that you aren’t get-
ting in the current position? Are you sure you’ll get it?
Make a list of everything you like about your current job.
Are you going to get the same things at the new job? What
is going to be missing? What additional things do you
think you’re going to get that are going to make you hap-
pier there than you are here?
Make a list of everything you dislike about your current
job. How many are big things, and how many are small
Of the big things, how many are going to disappear if you
take the other job? Are these large problems going to be
ﬁxed, or are new faces just going to be attached to the
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