Throughout literature, television, and nearly any other form of media, there’s a recurring trope of the jezebel: the homewrecker, the other woman, the person who steps in and ruins a happy relationship.
Whether this threat is the eponymous Jolene from Dolly Parton’s hit song or Jacob Black of Twilight fame, you’ve certainly seen examples of someone coming in and threatening an existing relationship.
I’d posit that this role also exists in the workplace. And, if I may be so bold, I’d also go so far as to suggest that you should be filling this role, because there is a lot to be gained from becoming “the other job.”
Right now, we are well past full employment, and most businesses are scrambling to hire more people. There are, of course, high-profile instances of tech giants implementing mass layoffs, but these noteworthy examples are by far the minority. Indeed is still bursting at the seams with job listings in most industries, and employers are desperately seeking new talent.
And if the current situation is challenging for employers, it’s certainly no easier for working class individuals. At present, 62% of Americans in the workforce are living paycheck to paycheck. Blame that on the high cost of living, wage stagnation, or whatever else you like, but the reality is that more than half of the American workforce are in a pretty desperate situation.
I’m not just telling you this to tug on your heartstrings. I’m telling you this because a lot of your employees are probably in the same position, and if you’re not careful, there exists the potential for “the other job” to step in and offer them something better.
You see, this is the problem with the legend of the other woman (or man, or person). The myth is that two people are in this perfectly content relationship, then a temptress steps in and ruins everything.
And it’s just that: a myth.
The truth is that stable, happy relationships don’t have anything to fear from outside intruders. Put simply, you can’t sell to someone who doesn’t want to buy. Similarly, employees who are happy with their current employers aren’t likely to be tempted into another position.
So how do you make sure that you don’t lose your people to a new, more appealing offer? Simple. You become the other job. Instead of the boring person at home, you become the mistress.
If you have part-time workers who have another, “main” job, start courting them. Make sure they have a good wage and a pleasant work environment. If they need you to be flexible around their main position’s hours, then happily work around that schedule and impress them with how fair and reasonable you are.
The goal here is to slowly let your employees realize that you’re the more appealing employer. Then, as time passes and you prove that you’re stable and reliable, maybe your part-time employees become full-time hires.
For the last several years, I’ve worked with a company that has done this brilliantly. Routinely, they bring people in as part-time help and then slowly become their main employer. And honestly, the strangest thing about this practice is that it’s not particularly difficult.
This is certainly not the highest-paying job out there. But management makes sure that it’s a nice place to work, that there’s a culture of empowerment amongst employees, and that each employee has a variety of duties and responsibilities so they feel like they’re growing and gaining valuable skills.
Once you’ve made a good place to work, all you have to do is start offering some extra hours. People don’t usually go from 20 hours to 40 right away, but slowly but surely, this organization becomes the primary employer for most of their staff,
Not sure what you can offer your employees to tempt them out of another role? Ask them. Monetary compensation is always a good place to start—yes, your labor costs are going to increase, but they’ll do that anyway (and worse) if you have to keep hiring and training new people.
The reality is that we are past full employment. So if you want to stay competitive in the job market, it’s time to look at better pay, more robust benefits packages, and anything else that will keep your people choosing you as their preferred place to work.
There are a lot of potential employers out there. And if you’re not willing to become the other job that steals away employees, then you can bet that somebody else will.