I’ve wasted away much of this day with a very silly conundrum. But the question at hand is very interesting.

It goes like this.

A business or organization is not as productive as it should be. The talent complains that they are very hard working and dedicated and deserve more money. They make the argument that if they made more, they would produce more.

But this same group already claims to be working at their maximum capacity. They claim to be over worked and under paid.

So, would paying them more solve anything for the business?

I would make the argument that paying more to attract better talent would help the business. But keeping the same people and paying them more only increases cost.

That’s obvious, isn’t it?

Now, instead of a business with employees, consider schools. For some reason, changing the title of the talent to teacher somehow invalidates the logic. Pay them more and we will get better results even though the vast majority are hard working and dedicated and can’t possibly work any harder as the claim goes.

Then put doctor in the equation. Nope. This group is over paid. Cutting their pay won’t reduce the quality of health care because good doctors would work for less. Right?

This is where many arguments about pay go into a ditch. The logic completely unravels when we add tags to the problem. But it shouldn’t. The basis remains fixed. There is a group working at their full capacity. That, by definition, means you can’t get more out of them. So the argument doesn’t wash that they should get more money in order to do a better job.

But isn’t that always the defense when lousy test results for schools come out? We’re not being paid enough!

I think we can pay more to attract better [insert job here] but paying the same people more money only makes sense if you expand duties or reward results.

Take out “teacher” and tell me if that doesn’t make sense. Yes, I agree, let’s pay more and get better ones.

Chris Reich