So says the brilliant Paul Hebert, whose recent post Work Life Balance is Dead - Now its "Life Exchange Rate" was inspired by this quote from Henry David Thoreau:
The price of anything is the amount of Life you exchange for it. ~ Thoreau
As Paul explains it...
Traditionally, you couldn’t achieve your goals if you were working on company goals – so we created work/life balance to measure acceptable levels of time and activity exchange. But in today’s working world a great company will try to provide you with the ability to consolidate activities so that you’re not only achieving your goals but you’re also achieving the company’s goals during the same time.
How does this relate to rewards?
...The price (the salary/benefits/freedom) of the job is directly connected to the amount of stuff you, as an employee have to give up in order to have that job. The more of your life you give up – the higher the cost to your life and therefore the higher the price to the employer...
The more you allow your employees to consolidate what you want as an employer into what they want as humans should make it much more affordable – talent wise. People who can achieve more of their “life” while achieving your business goals don’t need to sacrifice as much “life” and therefore will have less cost to consider making them less reliant on salary and bennies to make up the difference.
But here is the best part - the virtuous reward circle that is possible in a true employer-employee partnership. A paradox, of a sort. The more an organization works on reducing the "life exchange rate", Paul notes, the more money it will likely make and the greater income it can provide to its employers.
Too often, we fall into the either/or trap, where we approach rewards as a zero sum game. Either the company is profitable or the employees are well-paid, never stepping beyond the mindset that one side's gain must necessarily be the other side's loss. What we overlook is the opportunity, if we are prepared to step up to the challenge, to do both. And the fact that achieving one, in the right way, can increase the odds of our successfully achieving the other.
Thanks, Paul, for the excellent reminder.
Ann Bares is the Founder and Editor of the Compensation Café, Author of Compensation Force and Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group LLC, where she provides compensation consulting to a range of client organizations. Ann serves as President Elect of the Twin Cities Compensation Network (the most awesome local reward network on the planet) and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Compensation & Benefits Review, the leading journal for those who design, implement, evaluate and communicate total rewards. She earned her M.B.A. at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, is a bookhound and foodie in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter at @annbares.
Creative Commons image "Rays of Sun Through Smoke in Trees" by Jeffery Turner