I recently read an article about a very radical approach to pay. I’ve been pondering it since.

A quick summary of the article…….  

A successful CEO in the USA decided to change the pay structure in his business so the minimum salary was $70k. In addition he also changed his salary to this level.

As you would expect, there was quite a response to this and some people left as they couldn’t see how it would work. He also discovered that he hadn’t pitched the level quite right and it didn’t immediately lead to a happier workforce. However, over time they have identified a number of positive outcomes, including higher productivity, greater passion and motivation.

I’ve been trying to imagine how such a scheme would be received if it was introduced in to growing businesses in the UK. I haven’t yet figured out how it could possibly work as it crosses over so many ingrained beliefs and systems that are in place in our society and in organisations.

Thinking about the four components for organisational success in the Kandula People Performance Model, introducing a scheme such as this would have implications for all four components.

Directional Alignment

What stands out is that everyone would have to be strongly connected with the company’s strategy, goals, purpose and values. It would have to align with other aspects of the culture and would totally change any performance management process.

Valued Work

In addition it would change the way roles are designed and would no doubt change the concept of teams and leadership. I wonder in what ways people were rewarded for exceptional results or how career progressions were managed. One outcome for the company has been an increase in capability for those who were moved to the new minimum salary as they were more motivated to do more.

Solid Foundations

It strikes me that the recruitment process and proposition would need to change significantly to ensure that you have the right talent in the business. No doubt other HR processes would also need to be aligned.

Meaningful Connections

This seems to be the area where there could be greatest benefit. In this article it appears that employees became more connected to the business. This was partly due to the reduced financial stress that many felt, which in turn led to loyalty and passion for the business. It certainly seems to be an approach that would clarify people’s connection with the business and what it aims to deliver.


Taking into consideration the knock on effects of introducing this pay structure I’ll continue to ponder how it would work. I’d love to meet an organisation that is considering a change in the way people are rewarded, recognised and motivated to become the best they can be in rapidly changing environments.

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