Passion vs pay: important lessons for organisation building


The word ‘employee’ only exists if there is an employer. An employer only exists if there is an organisation, and an organisation only exists with people. A bit complicated, is it not? Let’s untwist everything in a bit.

What is an organization? Have you ever wondered what exactly an organization consists of? An organization only exists if it is legally formed in the eyes of the law by some people, has people guiding it, directing it, investing in it, working for it, and is buying or selling goods or services. To be simplistic, an organization is all about putting the right people together at the right time and getting them to work on things that they are good at. Simple, is it not?

Let's just take a small example – if someone has to start a hair salon, one has to register the business in the eyes of the law and invest in physical assets like chairs, mirrors, and so on. Then you need to employ technical resources like hair stylists and managers to manage them. All the funds that are required are invested by someone and managers make strategic decisions of the business. The unity of these people at one place is what is called an organization. Without people, an organization is obsolete. So now that we understand the need of people in an organization, let’s consider how important it is for these people to have aligned thoughts to push the organization forward.

This brings us to the “culture” of an organization and how big of a deal it is to run an organization by building a great culture. Who defines the culture of an organization? Is it the person who runs it, or is it the people who work for it? Is it all the employees who build and incorporate it in their daily office routine together?

The culture of an organization is defined by everyone working for an organization. Culture can also be defined as the “work ethic” we choose when we work together. It is the internal constitution you write for yourself within an organization. Culture is the values you vow to follow while you work there.

Now that we know what culture means, let us analyze how things work if we have someone in our organization with contradicting culture. Let us consider our previous example – the saloon shop we own. Say it has two hairdressers and one manager, and an owner to whom the manager reports to. Unfortunately, one of the hairdressers, Mr Boony, does not fit into the culture of the saloon shop. The saloon shop believes in serving their clients to the highest quality and that the client is God. However, for Mr Boony, increasing the profits of the company by minimizing the time spent on each customer is a priority.

He cares about profits more than the service. For him, generating higher income makes more sense, and he believes that he is eligible for a pay raise and bonus for this effort. However, Mr Boony forgets the values of the company that focus on quality, not the quantity. When the time of increment comes, Mr Boony does not get his increment as anticipated and loses his nerve. He then goes to the management with numbers to prove his success.

The manager analyzes the numbers only to discover his personal agenda of increasing the overall profits and not the quality. Upon rejection of the pay raise and bonus, Mr Boony gets disappointed and demotivated and leaves the company to find a job that has more focus on the profits this time, to get more appreciation. The point to be made is – if the values of the employees of an organization are different from those of the organization, it hurts both the employee and the company. Finding someone who has a similar culture makes it progressive for both the organization and the employee.

Passion vs Pay

Most of the companies invest a lot of time in hiring people. They ensure that all rounds of the interviews are designed in a way that the interviewee is the best fit for the organization. But, it so happens that most of the people only know about the organization either by browsing online or by enquiring with their friends. These peripheral enquiries are not enough for them to comprehend the organizational culture. The company, on the other hand, also cannot completely analyze if someone is truly capable of the fitting into the culture of the organization in just five rounds of interview.

In detail, people act differently in different scenarios. People who are brave may act really weak in times of distress, or people who are happy may lose their cheer if the work is not exciting, and so on and so forth. One should be able to judge how people act in different scenarios at different times. We also should be able to analyze if they work for you only because they are in need, or if they are truly passionate about what they do. Some people who are desperately in need may work only for the pay; in that case, they may lose interest if their increment is not progressive.

Some people work with passion and they may lose interest if there is no excitement and challenge. Identifying these traits and acting accordingly is very necessary while you hire. People who work for pay and passion are idealistic as they have covered their basic necessities and are happily pursuing their passion. Someone who only pursues their passion suffocates eventually for paying their bills and loses motivation.

An employee can only be happy at work if he/she enjoys working on things they like to work. Not just that – if they enjoy working, they manage their own work and become very productive. This only happens if the employee is genuinely taken care of by the organization and his/her concerns are sincerely considered and honestly solved. If an employee enjoys his/her work, the authenticity of the problem will be genuine, and the time spent to investigate their complaints is not wasted. This also creates healthy teams that work in synchrony.

For hiring someone with such traits, a five-round interview would fall short. It is best for an organization to hire someone for a contract-to-hire position and let the employee explore the culture of the organization and the company explore the employee culture. It is very important for the management of any organization to realize that an organization is built with people. It should also be taken into count that most of the time should be spent in building teams, considerably more so than anywhere else while building a company. Understanding each employee and filling their gaps increases overall productivity and loyalty, which in turn creates miracles.

The bottom line? Companies have to understand that a happy employee is a happy team member, and a happy team member contributes to a happy team; a happy team leads to a happy organization, and a happy organization performs the best.

Nitisha Jukareddy is the COO at Digital Lync, a startup that disrupts education and focusses on incubation.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)