Over a year ago the CEO of Gravity Payments, Dan Price, made the decision to raise the minimum pay for every employee to $70k while reducing his own pay to $70k. It sparked a huge debate with polarizing opinions ranging from ‘brilliant’ to ‘idiot’ with a full array of doubt and interesting circumstances in between. I’m not interested in being a part of that debate, but I do want to point out what I saw when the decision was made and what I see now over a year later.
Here’s what I posted on Facebook when I read about the decision last year, because I believe when you take care of people they take care of others, and this case helps prove that point (screenshot linked to article):
Again, I don’t want to be part of the debate. We can argue that $70k is a crazy amount of money to pay certain roles or that ‘$70k is nothing in Silicon Valley. Apparently, going by all the noisy articles that ensued this decision, there’s a lot of detailed circumstances everyone could argue. I don’t care about all that noise. My point in posting this has nothing to do with the arguments and everything to do with the effect of valuing people and leading by example.
Again, we could get hung up on thoughts about circumstances or say things like, “It’s easy to make decisions like Dan if we’re going to get something in return”. But I’d be willing to bet that Gravity employees are more generous to people all around them than they were when they were being squeezed by the common practice of paying the most qualified people the least possible amount for the purpose of increasing profits – a practice that is a downfall of leadership in this world. If Dan Price is as good a leader as his example of generosity suggests he might be, then I bet he is as happy to see how others are being blessed as he is to receive this blessing the employees gave him (well, maybe not AS happy, but at least happy).