Helping Employees Think Beyond the Paycheck


Employees are valuable assets who can help reap profits for your company. But you first need a strategy to engage them in your business.

A TOPIC THAT COMES UP again and again in my work as an executive-level business coach is dealing with employee issues. What has become clear from working with CEOs and business owners is that they have employee issues because they have not found a way to get their staff engaged in the business.

But how can you accomplish that, while getting your team to think outside of the paycheck? Engaging employees isn’t all that difficult. As the business owner, it is your responsibility to make your company a great place to work. It doesn’t matter if you are only a two- or three-person business – just do whatever it takes to make your company the best place to work, period!

When you started your business, what was your vision? What did you expect the company to look like two, five, or 10 years down the road? Back then, you had focus, a business plan (hopefully), and you were driven to achieve your personal and business goals. To help you employees take a more active role in your company, find out about their personal goals and aspirations.

Perhaps one day a key employee hopes to start his own business. Another may want to go back to school to earn more certifications or a degree. Others may struggle to identify what they hope to accomplish in the future, but with time and effort you can uncover their plans. If you haven’t taken time to sit down and really communicate with your team since you first interviewed them, you are missing a golden opportunity to help them not only achieve their goals, but get them wholly engaged in your business.

This doesn’t mean increasing their paychecks. Instead, think about incentive-based payroll. By implementing an incentive-based payroll, your staff does not get paid unless the generate revenue or billing time. For example, one of my coaching clients has a policy that when he hires a new consultant, he pays the person $80 an hour with a guarantee of 20 hours of work a week. But, if the consultant wants to make more than $1,600 per week, he or she needs to up-sell existing clients and bring in new business. Well, the lowest paid consultant in that company makes more than $100,000 a year. Incentive-based payroll works, and it keeps your employees engaged in your business. Plus, it builds “stickiness,” which will keep your staff loyal for many years to come.

Again, think back to when you started your company. Remember how much fun you had? It was an adventure and a challenge. now that your business is more mature and successful, are you still having fun? If the business is no longer enjoyable, take a look at what you are doing each day and make adjustments. It’s time to get back to enjoying your work and helping your staff do the same, by giving them a stake in the outcome of the business deals they touch.

For some people, work can be a nasty four-letter word. Don’t let that happen to you or your team. Give employees something to work for, and together you will grow an even more successful company.

STUART SELBST is the owner and president of Stuart Selbst Consulting, a business development, coaching, and training firm focused on the improvement of small and mid-size technology companies. Find him on the WEB at

Stuart Selbst Owner and President Stuart Selbst Consulting