Employee Engagement? Or Employee Entrapment?

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Employee Engagement? Or Employee Entrapment?

Let’s think for a minute about so-called “stay-or-pay” arrangements for employees, where an employee agrees to stay with their employer for a certain period of time, or pay a penalty for early departure. Aside from the legal ramifications, (many courts have said these arrangements are illegal or unenforceable), do we really want people working with us who are doing so under duress? What do we really want? Employee Engagement? Or employee entrapment?

These setups are particularly prevalent in healthcare, where I’d really rather have someone caring for me who wants to be there and isn’t staying just in order to avoid debt. Sure, I understand all about recruiting and training costs. These are among the risks that entrepreneurs assume in return for earning a profit. But some of these agreements exact payments far in excess of their costs, adding heavy “damages” intended to discourage unhappy employees from exercising their right to seek a better place to work.

How about, instead, we work on hiring good leaders, training them to be great leaders, and rewarding them for creating a workplace where people can hardly wait to get to work and create excellent experiences for their customers and coworkers and an attractive profit for their owners and investors.

Rather than paying people to stay, let’s invest in a culture they’d never even consider leaving. Idealistic? Hardly. Great employers all over the world are doing this. Be one of them. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble, and make more money in the process.

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