Don’t stick your head in the sand! The $15 per hour “standard” wage is coming! Whether you are ready or not . . .

By Jacquelyn Kung

Let’s assume for now you are not an ostrich. 

The New “Acceptable” Wage

So you’ve seen the list of companies who will be paying a minimum of $15 per hour:

  • Whole Foods

  • Target

  • Amazon

  • Costco

  • Disney

  • The list goes on and on.

Two companies in our space have already committed to paying $15 per hour. 

People . . .

It’s coming!

The Ostrich vs. The Honey Badger

We’ve been listening for reactions — and they come in two camps, which I will, for the purposes of this Forum article, call: The Ostrich and The Honey Badger. 

Here is what the Ostrich would do:

  • Say the $15 is not really $15. Technically true (i.e., how you count total compensation) — but is that how job candidates see it?

  • Say absolute wages do not matter to attracting and retaining talent. Again, technically true — but wages relative to market do matter.

  • Say the ostrich does what ostriches do and puts his head in the sand. La la la . . . it’s not happening . . . until the ostrich is taken to be used as hamburger meat.

Here is what a honey badger would do (per the popular viral youtube videos from a few years ago):

  • Be fearless — figure out solutions that keep operating margins and, therefore, valuations the same or increasing while adjusting to market realities as needed. One secret: happy employees are 10-20% more productive. Another secret: technology helps winners win. Another secret: learn from the hotel and hospital industries, whose fate is uncertain yet there are thriving companies.

  • Don’t care — commit because honey badgers win in their fight against King Cobras. The honey badger uses his many strengths to win against bigger, tougher foes. Our sector can and should do the same.

What are we missing here? Please leave your comments below!