This article – Keep your job for five years, get $50,000 – was published on CNN Money this morning and has been flying around Twitter all day.
The gist is this: one small business owner is offering his full-time employees $50,000 bonus for every five years that they stay with the company. The article brings up the key points:
Reward for retention – Nowadays, there is nothing that makes people loyal to a company, but Dan Schneider, the founder and CEO of SIB Development and Consulting (the company dishing out the cash) believes that a $50K retention can change that.
The average amount of time that people stay at a job is 2-3 years, especially at startups; staying at a company for 5 years is rare.
Additional bonus at 25 years – If employees stay at the company for 25 years, they will receive $250,000 cash (the article doesn’t specify if that’s the total of $50K for every 5 years or $50K for the first 5 years and $250K at 25 years).
Cut costs to train new employees – For the SIB, the bonus is really about retaining high-quality employees and not having to spend the money to train new ones over and over again.
The most interesting part about this article isn’t the bonus, but the fact that every single one of the employees pictured is smiling, genuinely. Sure, it could have taken over a dozen shots to get this one photo, but if you look closely at the photo, they really look happy.
Maybe Schneider has a point. Maybe the promise of $50,000 after 5 years of service as a “thank you” is how much it costs to keep happy employees who are “not looking for work.” Maybe he’s on to something.
Why Money Talks
There have been many, many articles around the web about the key to having a successful business (and especially a startup) is to have the right people on your team and how you really need to work hard to keep them.
Mark Suster wrote a stellar article in TechCrunch earlier this year about it and while he broke down the kinds of people you specifically want involved with your startup, the title of his article said it the best: A Few Key People Really Can Make a Huge Difference.
But it’s not about having the right people on your team; it’s about keeping them. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com, talks a lot about this (and unfortunately I can’t find the exact article that talks about this, so I’ll link to this one: Got talent? Competing to hire the best and motivate the rest).
Say “Thank you”
I’m going on a limb here, but maybe the reason why this bonus structure will and can work for Schneider is because he does have the right people at his company and he wants to keep them.
You have to motivate and retain your best employees. You need to say “thank you” and let them know that you are going to take care of them for them to stick around.
A company who wants to appreciate and take care of their companies? That’s as rare these days as an employee who wants to stick around for five years.
Would you stay at a job for 5 years if you got a $50K bonus?