from the sydney-morning-herald-wrong-again dept.
The Center for American Progress reports
In April, Dan Price, CEO of the credit card payment processor Gravity Payments, announced that he will eventually raise minimum pay for all employees to at least $70,000 a year.
[...]Six months later, the financial results are starting to come in: Price told Inc. Magazine that revenue is now growing at double the rate before the raises began and profits have also doubled since then.
On top of that, while it lost a few customers in the kerfuffle, the company's customer retention rate rose from 91 to 95 percent, and only two employees quit. Two weeks after he made the initial announcement, the company was flooded with 4,500 resumes and new customer inquiries jumped from 30 a month to 2,000 a month.
"Is anyone else freaking out right now? I'm kind of freaking out." said Dan Price, the CEO of Seattle-based Gravity Payments, as he announced that the new minimum salary for current employees will be raised to $70,000 a year. Price is taking a pay cut from $1 million to $70,000 and spending an appreciable amount of the company's profit to raise annual salaries from the current average of $48,000.
From the article:
The United States has one of the world's largest pay gaps, with chief executives earning nearly 300 times what the average worker makes, according to some economists' estimates. That is much higher than the 20-to-1 ratio recommended by Gilded Age magnates like J. Pierpont Morgan and the 20th century management visionary Peter Drucker.
[...] Under a financial overhaul passed by Congress in 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission was supposed to require all publicly held companies to disclose the ratio of C.E.O. pay to the median pay of all other employees, but it has so far failed to put it in effect. Corporate executives have vigorously opposed the idea, complaining it would be cumbersome and costly to implement.
[...] The happiness research behind Mr. Price's announcement on Monday came from Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist. They found that what they called emotional well-being — defined as "the emotional quality of an individual's everyday experience, the frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection that make one's life pleasant or unpleasant" — rises with income, but only to a point. And that point turns out to be about $75,000 a year.
Earlier this year, Seattle-based Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price announced he was setting the minimum wage for his workers at $70k. About 70 of the company's 120 employees would be receiving the raises over a 3 year period and Price cut his salary from $1m to $70k to make the change happen. His reasoning: He read an article that more money for people who make less than $70k leads to increased happiness.
His plan may have backfired:
What few outsiders realised, however, was how much turmoil all the hoopla was causing at the company itself. To begin with, Gravity was simply unprepared for the onslaught of emails, Facebook posts and phone calls. The attention was thrilling, but it was also exhausting and distracting. And with so many eyes focused on the firm, some hoping to witness failure, the pressure has been intense.
More troubling, a few customers, dismayed by what they viewed as a political statement, withdrew their business. Others, anticipating a fee increase - despite repeated assurances to the contrary - also left. While dozens of new clients, inspired by Price's announcement, were signing up, those accounts will not start paying off for at least another year. To handle the flood, he has had to hire a dozen additional employees - now at a significantly higher cost - and is struggling to figure out whether more are needed without knowing for certain how long the bonanza will last.
Two of Price's most valued employees quit, spurred in part by their view that it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. Some friends and associates in Seattle's close-knit entrepreneurial network were also piqued that Price's action made them look stingy in front of their own employees.
To make matters worse, Price's brother and company co-founder Lucas filed a lawsuit less than 2 weeks after the raise increase announcement, accusing his brother of violating his rights as a minority shareholder.