Employee and Client Free Agency

Kevin Trokey on July 04, 2011

I live in St. Louis. Which, by unwritten law, makes me a huge Cardinals fan. Since there is no minimum age for said unwritten law, my 11 year-old son is also a huge Cardinals fan. And, of course, by some unwritten subsection of this unwritten law, our favorite player is Albert Pujols.
Now, you may or may not know, that at the end of this season, Albert will be a free agent. This brings up the possibility that he could (god forbid) play for another team next year. As you might expect, this has caused no small amount of anxiety for my son who has never known Cardinals baseball without Albert Pujols.

We have had countless conversations about what might happen at the end of the season. At this point, I think he truly understands the basics of how it all works. Our most recent discussion went something like this:

Zach – “Dad, if someone else offers Albert a contract, does he have to take it?

Me – “No, he will get to choose where he plays.”

Zach – “Well, I think he really likes being a Cardinal, and I think he will stay. But, I bet the Yankees offer him crazy money. They try to buy all of the best players.”

Me – “That’s certainly possible, but I agree that Albert will take less money to stay here.”

Zach – “You know dad, if the Cardinals give him too much money they wouldn’t have enough left for other players.”

Me – “That’s right buddy. As good as Albert is, they have to think about the rest of the team as well.”

Zach – “Well, if he has to go somewhere else, I hope he gets to go to a team that isn’t very good. That way, he can help make them into a good team.”

I thought that was pretty insightful for an 11 year-old considering the prospect of his favorite player no longer playing for his favorite team. I also thought that it’s too bad that we don’t always have that same level of insight with our employees and clients. Think about the comparison:

Your employees and clients always have a choice as to where they work and with whom they work.

Your employees can always leave for more money, and your clients can always leave for a lower price. You have competitors who will offer both.

Your employees and clients have to consider the employment/client experience you provide as part of their decision to stay with you.

There is a point where paying an employee to stay or discounting your compensation for clients just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it’s in everyone’s best interest for employees and clients to move on to another team. As good as the run may have been, it almost always has to come to an end.

Albert, if you happen to be reading this, it’s definitely NOT time for you to move on.

 

Photo by William Holtkamp.

Topics: Leadership + Management, Team Development