Friday, February 29, 2008

Top 10 Things Your Employee Would Prefer Over a Raise

Poor people don’t like intros.

10. Fire Drills
As funny as it may seem, your employee would rather get away from their desk for 10-30 minutes than receive a raise. This is mostly because something like a fire drill would give them the chance to mingle with their co-workers, get some fresh air (maybe even squeeze in a cigarette or two), and, most importantly, stop working. While chances are pretty slim that your employees were actually working anyway (statistically, I mean), it’s still a welcomed distraction from their daily grind, and an escape from their 5x5 (in some cases, 4x4) prison cell. If you have enough fire drills (and mix it up, don’t always announce them ahead of schedule, use different exits, and don’t always make them listen to a 10 minute speech about fire safety afterwards), I can guarantee that the demands for raises will go down in your company!

9. Gift Cards
Everyone knows that gift cards are better than money. This works with holiday gifts as well. As an employee, I know that I much preferred my $20 gift card to Sephora at the end of the year over a raise. You can’t un-wrap a raise or hold a raise in your hands (arguably). It just goes into your bank account and then you spend it with your ATM Card on things that you actually want. Bo-ring! Gift cards have cool pictures on them and almost look like a credit card. Really, it’s like having a pre-paid credit card to your 10th or 11th favorite store. With a gift card, you don’t have to worry about what store to shop in. The decision has already been made for you! Poor people love when decisions are made for them! You also don’t have to worry about over-spending, as the $20 limit will likely discourage you from going over.

8. Talking About Sports
The best way to keep your employees happy with their inadequate salary is to talk to them the next morning about the most important sporting event that occurred the night before. Be aware that this only works for male employees (even women who actually like sports would still prefer the raise). Make up nicknames for your male employees that remind them of when they played sports in high school, and use it to initiate any conversation you wish to have with them (whether it’s about sports or not – can even pass for work-related conversations). This will make them feel special even though they aren’t. They won’t even realize that the primary reason that you use that nickname all of the time is because you don’t actually know their real name. Even if they went in that morning 100% determined to demand a raise, they will have forgotten about it 10 minutes into a friendly debate over the Jason Kidd trade/Roger Clemens hearing/Eli Manning interview/etc.. This also applies to next morning Grammy, Oscar, and Sopranos banter (any HBO drama will do). Just keep in mind that poor people don’t always have HBO, and the Grammys and Oscars are only on once a year. Always take advantage of these events.

7. Health Insurance
This is up for debate, but decent health insurance will usually keep your employee quiet for a couple of years. What’s even more effective is to have the company change health insurance every few years on the first of January. Conduct 3 hour meetings with representatives from the new company (as this will have double the effect on your employees - see #6: Meetings). Have them fill out an obscene amount of paperwork with the promise that this will save them an additional $40-$50 per paycheck. Since they’re poor, they’ll welcome the small and otherwise insignificant addition to their income. If you’re really lucky, they will literally consider this their raise. You’ll be safe for 6 months, at the least. When friends ask a poor person how much money they make, they can say something like, “Not that much, but I have great health insurance.” Their friends, who are also poor, will most likely be impressed by this.

6. Meetings
Poor people effing love meetings! A day without a meeting is like a day without sunshine. The best thing about meetings is that your employee will always have the false hope that this is finally that promotion/raise/bonus they’ve been waiting for. They themselves won’t bring it up, because they’ll be anticipating it during the entirety of the meeting. Then, when they’ve realized the meeting is over, will be too disheartened to talk to you any longer. They’d much rather get back to their desk as quickly as possible and email their friends about what an asshole you are. You can’t, under any circumstances, let this effect how you treat them. In fact, you should welcome it, as this also keeps poor people relatively compliant with their mundane routines and month-to-month existence. Bitching to my friends about my job is the one constant vice I can always rely on. After this period of anger has passed, your employee will become extremely disappointed and start looking for another job. You should allow no longer than 2 weeks for the disappointment to set in, and then promptly schedule another meeting.

5. Condescending Emails
Theoretically, the list of things your employee would prefer over a raise is a perpetual one. One of my favorite things to get from my boss (that is not a raise) is an incredibly condescending email telling me what to do or not to do. The reason this keeps your employee quiet is in line with the reasoning behind #6. Bitching about your boss is a drug. It’s all one really needs to survive the day, and poor people can use this energy just as efficiently as they could additional income. I love it when my boss tells me to: stop my personal internet use, answer the phone, stop being late, work more efficiently, stop taking long breaks, stop leaving 5 minutes early for lunch, spend less time in the bathroom, be aware of the number of sick days I have left, and (my personal favorite) work over-time or through lunch to get something extremely important finished up by the deadline. This may not seem condescending, but let’s break it down; not only do you have the audacity to ask your underpaid employee to work overtime, but you have absolutely no intention of compensating them financially for this “favor” (it is, in essence, a “favor” that you are asking). In addition, everyone knows that there is no such thing as a deadline. Almost every deadline in every company that every boss sets forth to their employees is a number that they’ve pulled out of their ass to keep you in line. This is mostly because poor people like deadlines. It makes them feel important even though they aren’t.

4. Half Days
Half days make up for a lot of things in life. With just the right number, scattered meticulously through-out the calendar year, you could keep employees complaisant with their salary for years. For every half day you allot, I can guarantee that you’ve delayed every employee’s desire for a raise by at least 3 months. The best way to announce these half days is at the very last minute, about 2 or 3 days before the actual half day. This way, your employees can’t plan long weekend getaways; which, in the end, saves them money they don’t have and shouldn’t be spending. Thanks boss! Half days work best before a 3 day weekend, as this angers employees even more-so. This brings us back to bitching about your boss, a sure-fire way to keep poor people occupied for hours at a time.

3. Vacation Days
Vacation days are just a step above Half days. With just the right number, scattered meticulously through-out the calendar year, you could keep employees complaisant with their salary for DECADES. Each year that a poor person works for you at your company, give them more and more vacation days. Vacation days are better than money for a combination of the reasons listed through-out this list. Vacation days give poor people the opportunity to not work. Not working is the best possible way to keep yourself happy. After a few years, when they are up to 5 or 6 weeks of vacation time, they won’t even consider asking for a raise. How could they possibly have it any better than they do now? I do not have a lot of vacation days, but luckily, I have a boatload of half days, meetings, and condescending emails to keep me happy.

2. Birthday Cake
Monthly birthday cake is [almost] the best way to keep your employees from asking for a raise. The best part about monthly birthday cake is that, well…it’s monthly! This means that you get the chance to remind them of how cool your company is every single month! Best of all, no one gets left out! Monthly birthday cakes are for everyone whose birthday falls within that particular month, and everyone gets a piece! Works best if there is singing, free milk (no need to go this overboard unless you’re lacking considerably in #’s 10-3), and a 10-15 minute break to go along with it (if employees get carried away, be sure to walk by and mutter threatening remarks under your breath about firing everyone if they don’t get back to their desk, which ties into condescending emails, bitching about your boss, etc. You’ve inadvertently killed two birds with one stone). Ice cream cake is only necessary once a year or so, but ice cream cake every month would blow their effing minds! You’ll never have an unhappy employee for the rest of your days. Raise? What raise? Just pass me a fork!

1. Pizza
Poor people fucking love pizza. Pizza on Monday. Pizza on Tuesday. Pizza on Wednesday. Pizza when it rains, snows, hails. Pizza at noon. Pizza at 3pm. Pizza is the unequivocal #1 thing that your employees would prefer instead of a raise. Ask any poor person you know! Pizza is the best thing that could happen to you in a 9-5 workday. Even eating a slice of pizza at your cubicle will make that day better than any other day that week. Getting lots of different types of pizza is the most efficient way to go about ordering pizza for your employees. Nobody wants to be the last person to the lunch room to discover that all of the pepperoni is gone. This won’t make your employee happy. This will actually anger them more than anything else. In that situation, the whole pizza thing has actually backfired. If you want to make it especially fun for your employees, you can combine pizza with any of the above listed points. The best combination would be Pizza+Half Days, followed by Pizza+Birthday Cake. Pizza+Fire Drills works as well. You don’t even have to supply soda to go with the pizza. Your employees will happily purchase their own soda (which works out exceptionally well for you, as they will most definitely purchase it from your vending machine). Poor people don’t like soda as much as they do pizza. If you simply offered free soda to your employees, they would become aware of the fact that they are being insufficiently compensated for the small amount of money they make at your company. Soda is too obvious, and is not enough to take your employees’ minds off of a raise. It may seem like pizza is more obvious, but the idea of a free slice of pizza is so distracting, that there’s no chance anyone will complain about anything for a very long time.

Elizabeth Stolfi
Corporate Cog
Mindless Media
A Genericorp Company