When the Cost of a Paycheck Isn’t Worth It by Jill Christensen

“I love getting a paycheck, but it’s costing a lot.”  When employees work for a dysfunctional company, what likely started as a positive, can-do attitude sours quickly. This leads to thorough analysis of the effort they put in against what they receive in return.

Maybe they’re consistently working well over their 40 hours every week without overtime. They might be watching paid time off hours pile up because they feel unable to take time away from work. They could fixate on the fact that their salary is lower than average based on comparisons tools so readily available online – or worse – lower than a peer doing the same job. That doesn’t even begin to address the mental and physical toll of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty caused by dysfunctional cultures and leadership.

When an employee feels their effort isn’t valued, you get sub-par work in return. The mindset of doing only what they feel they’re compensated for sets in. They might even take to airing their grievances with coworkers, customers, and contacts in your industry.

Until that employee is given a reason to re-engage or finds a job somewhere else, you’re stuck battling their bad behavior – and signing their checks.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What Can I Do?  There are many things leaders can do to improve company culture and re-engage employees who are burned out, frustrated, and fed up. Here are few ideas:

  • Recognize early and often. Acknowledge the work your employees are doing, even if it’s simply maintaining the status quo through a challenging situation. Simple, thoughtful words of gratitude go a long way in feeling valued.
  • Encourage employees to be involved in the decision-making process by seeking their input. This can’t be done in all circumstances, but get them involved when their ideas are welcome and can be put into action.
  • Provide meaningful opportunities to employees, such as professional development and giving them the lead on high-profile projects.

Improving culture and employee engagement needs a long-game strategy. There’s no quick fix, other than doing the right thing from the beginning. If you don’t have that luxury, this is a great time to commit to improving your company culture and demonstrating you value your most valuable asset.

By Marie Buchholz – Guest Writer for Jill Christensen.  Marie knows the highs and lows of engagement. As her company’s leader of Corporate Communications, she creates and implements strategies to communicate effectively internally and externally, and measures success by tracking employee and client sentiment.


Jill Christensen is an Employee Engagement Expert, Best-Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker and Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer.

She is one of the most in-demand and top-rated female speakers in the world today.  Named a Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, she takes audiences on a journey that educates and inspires people to act.  In three short years, Jill has been booked to present her proven strategy to re-engage employees to more than 150,000 people in 21 industries, 38 U.S. states, and seven countries.

A former Fortune 500 business executive with a Six Sigma Green Belt, Jill understands how organizations operate, and what they need to do differently to attract, retain, and engage employees.  This makes her a valuable asset to any organization that wants to increase productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and profitable revenue growth.

Her book, If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement, is a global best-seller, and her popular weekly blog was named a Top 100 Corporate Blog alongside of Apple and Microsoft.