It has been said that talented employees are like “frogs in a wheelbarrow.”58 They can jump
out at any time! By analogy, the organization can either try to force employees to stay in the
firm or try to keep them from jumping out by creating incentives.59 In other words, either
today’s leaders can provide the challenges, work environment, and incentives to keep productive employees and management from wanting to bail out, or they can use legal means
such as employment contracts and noncompete clauses.60 Firms must prevent the transfer
of valuable and sensitive information outside the organization. Failure to do so would be
the neglect of a leader’s fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. However, greater efforts
should be directed at the former (e.g., challenges, good work environment, and incentives),
but, as we all know, the latter (e.g., employment contracts and noncompete clauses) have
Identifying with an Organization’s Mission and Values People who identify with and are
more committed to the core mission and values of the organization are less likely to stray
or bolt to the competition. For example, take the perspective of the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s
widely admired former CEO:
Brian Hall, CEO of Values Technology in Santa Cruz, California, documented a shift in
people’s emotional expectations from work. From the 1950s on, a “task-first” relationship—
“Tell me what the job is, and let’s get on with it”—dominated employee attitudes. Emotions
and personal life were checked at the door. In the past few years, a “relationship-first” set
of values has challenged the task orientation. Hall believes that it will become dominant.
Employees want to share attitudes and beliefs as well as workspace.
Challenging Work and a Stimulating Environment Arthur Schawlow, winner of the 1981
Nobel Prize in physics, was asked what made the difference between highly creative and less creative scientists. His reply: “The labor of love aspect is very important. The most successful scientists often are not the most talented.65 But they are the ones impelled by curiosity.
They’ve got to know what the answer is.”66 Such insights highlight the importance of intrinsic motivation: the motivation to work on something because it is exciting, satisfying, or
personally challenging.67 As noted by Jeff Immelt, former chairman and CEO of General
Electric, “You want people with the self-confidence to leave, but you want them to stay.
That puts pressure on you to keep work interesting.”
Financial and Nonfinancial Rewards and Incentives Financial rewards are a vital organizational control mechanism (as we will discuss in Chapter 9). Money—whether in the form
of salary, bonus, stock options, and so forth—can mean many different things to people. It
might mean security, recognition, or a sense of freedom and independence.
Paying people more is seldom the most important factor in attracting and retaining
human capital.70 Most surveys show that money is not the most important reason why people take or leave jobs and that money, in some surveys, is not even in the top 10. Consistent
with these findings, Tandem Computers (part of Hewlett-Packard) typically doesn’t tell people being recruited what their salaries would be. People who asked were told that Tandem’s
salaries were competitive. If they persisted along this line of questioning, they would not be
offered a position. Why? Tandem realized a rather simple idea: People who come for money
will leave for money.