You Don’t Have to Give it All to Show True Leadership

by Evil HR Lady on June 25, 2020

Photo by Kasumi Loffler

If you want to build employee loyalty, consider the example of Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor. He just donated his $800.000 in salary and bonuses to help keep his employees during the shutdown. Texas Roadhouse hasn’t had to lay anyone off or cut anyone’s pay.

Well, no one got their pay cut except for the CEO, who did so voluntarily.

He sounds like a great guy overall but the cynical side of me always raises it’s head and I wondered how much this guy is worth. Turns out he’s worth $459 million as of January 2020. That’s 0.17 percent of his net worth that he donated. He also donated an additional $5 million to Andy’s Fund, which helps employees with expenses.

I say this because I want to point out that doing the right thing doesn’t always involve massive sacrifices on your part. He made a minor sacrifice for his employees. They will still appreciate him for it.

Additionally, no one is under an obligation to give you anything other than what you’ve earned, so even if it’s not a big percentage of their income, it’s still a fabulous gift.

Sometimes we think that what we have to offer won’t be enough if we can’t give something huge and meaningful that will get us positive press in People Magazine, so we don’t give anything. But, we can give small amounts of money, time, or talents to our employees and coworkers.

One of the things that I think is super important–especially in a small business–is who does the icky and unexpected tasks. If you get the newest admin to clean up the mess a customer made in the bathroom, you’re a bad manager. Senior leadership should take on the task of doing those things.

Yes, technically, the VP’s time is more important and more expensive than the admin’s time, but think of the example this type of small gesture sets for your staff. If the owner is happy to take her turn wrestling with the ink cartridges in the printer, it sends a message that we’re all in this together.

This is not to say you can’t hire a cleaning service or that senior leadership needs to do a bunch of menial tasks. It’s just to say that small things matter.

What the Texas Roadhouse CEO gave seems like a lot of money to me, but to him it’s a small sacrifice.

You can help your employees with your own small sacrifice–be it cutting your salary, staying late, or taking over an unpleasant task. It doesn’t have to be huge to be meaningful.

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