One of the employees from our vendor visited us for the discussion. I asked her about her tenure in the company. She was working almost for 8 years. Off course, topic diverted to retention of quality employees.
I asked her, "What are reasons for staying so long here?" She took the question and slowly, with her voice almost breaking, said, "It was the 750 rupees tennis racket." She told us that she originally took a junior officer position as an interim while she looked for something better. On her second or third day, she received a phone call from her nine-year old son, Tinku. He needed a tennis racket for his school tennis class. She explained that as a single mother, money was very tight, and her first salary would have to go for paying rent and other bills. Perhaps she could buy his tennis racket with her second or third salary.
When she arrived for work the next morning, her manager, asked her to come to his office. She wondered if she had done something wrong or left some part of her job incomplete from the day before. She was concerned and confused. Manager handed her a gift wrap. "I overheard you talking to your son yesterday," he said, "and I know that it is hard to explain things to kids. This is a tennis racket for Tinku because he may not understand how important he is, even though you have to pay rent and bills before you can buy this racket. You know at this juncture our salary structure is low but we do care, and I want you to know you are important to us."
The thoughtfulness, empathy and love of this convenience manager demonstrated vividly that people remember more how much an employer cares than how much the employer pays.
Important lesson in employee engagement.