Take Marissa Mayer, current CEO of Yahoo, for instance. Mayer will leave with a $186 million payout as a result of the upcoming transaction between Verizon and Yahoo. If you're anything like me, you have a hard time getting your head around this kind of compensation -- much less when the results of her work have been below average. Instead of "creating a better Yahoo" (as she once said), she created an enormous payday for herself by slashing thousands of job over five years and making plenty of questionable managerial decisions.
Now, I don't pretend that being the CEO of a company like Yahoo is, was, or ever will be easy. She had a tough job. But when push comes to shove, the results don't match the pay.
So what are some ways you can create better results while also bridging the divide and creating a more engaged work force? Here are three.
1. Get the compensation correct.
A recent Glassdoor survey found the average pay ratio of a CEO to a median worker was 204 to 1. As someone who believes that everything rises and falls based on leadership, I don't question the idea of people's compensation being based on the value they provide. Having said that, there is no way a gap that large between the CEO and the median worker provides a positive culture or an engaged work force.
Take a real-life servant-leader example: Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya. He surprised over 2,000 full-time employees by giving them collectively as much as 10 percent ownership in the company.
The goal isn't equal pay for all employees. The goal is to have a compensation structure allowing everyone who produces a profitable business to share in the fruits it provides.
2. Know what fills people up.
Ask your people the most important question you can: What fills you up from a career perspective?
Answers may include things like interacting with clients, brainstorming new ideas, making customers happy, and learning new skills. I could go on and on, but the important thing is you have a conversation with your people to know what fulfills them at work.
Once you know these things, then and only then can you create a personal development plan filled with opportunities to help them become the best versions of themselves.
3. Make your organization an extension of college.
In the traditional human resources world, leaders were hired for talent and current skill. In today's business environment, those things remain important -- but there are other factors to consider. The world is changing quickly, and your organization has to realize its role in providing ongoing opportunities for learning and development.
Organizations that invest in their people not only get better results but they also have a more engaged work force. Study after study has proved it.
It's my hope the next $186 million payday is for you, because you've used these three lessons -- and are getting great results, not subpar ones.