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  • Eve Coker, PhD, LCMHC

"Paycheck Rich"

I've recently learned of this phenomenon plaguing manufacturing companies where a worker will leave a company shortly after receiving a few paychecks. Leadership often calls it being "paycheck rich" where they believe the employees are leaving because they (the employees) now have some money and don't foresee the need to keep working in the immediate future.


That's a pretty derogatory term. It implies that the workers are shortsighted to the point that they don't see the need to maintain a job, and that they're lazy enough to leave as soon as they have enough money. When leadership labels their employees in such a negative way, it's no wonder that front line employees in these types of companies also frequently report that their leadership treats them so poorly that they leave as soon as they get paid.


It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leadership sees their employees in a poor light and thus treats them poorly, forcing the employees to leave. The employees aren't running away because they're "paycheck rich," they're running away from bad management. And then leadership wonders why they can't find and keep "good people" (i.e. people who put up with the abuse). Other times, there may be employees who stay when they get preferential treatment from leadership - and this might be used to defend how management treats the other employees. "Well, John had stayed with us for several years.... even though we look the other way when he messes up and other employees get in trouble for the same thing.... even though we give him more perks than the other employees.... and talk to him more respectfully...."


Communication is key here. It's not just about what you give your employees, but it's how you talk to them and treat them. So many company leaders make the mistake of thinking that the employee should see things the way that they do - and this won't happen because that employee hasn't had the same life experience. They probably aren't even in the same developmental stage (we seek out and want different things at different stages in our lives). And then leadership gets frustrated when paychecks and benefits just aren't enough. There's a reason for this! Let me know if you'd like to learn more about that reason. Hint: It has to do with the needs that workers are trying to have met versus the needs that the leaders are trying to have met.





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