Hey, Wait A Minute


I started working at a really young age. I was 14 when I got my first job. I was a dishwasher for the Camelot restaurant. It was one of those gray haired tour bus stop restaurants on Cape Cod. It took me only a few nights to realize I didn’t like washing dishes. So I quickly moved up to bus boy. I was too young to wait tables.

One of the things I liked best about being a bus boy were the tips. I quickly realized that if I built good relationships with the waiters and waitresses and did a kick ass job I could make more money. The faster I cleared and reset the tables, the more I ensured customers water glasses remained full and the more I helped with the check out process the more valuable I became. And for busting my ass and being better than the other bus boys, they tipped me well.

I remember, one year I got a job where the tips were pooled. The waitstaff tipped out into a pool and then the tips were evenly divided among all the bus boys. I remember the first night, I was like, “Wait a minute.” I kick all these guys ass, why do I have to share my money. I can’t tell you the name of the restaurant. I don’t have much of a memory, but what I can tell you is I didn’t work there too long.

Sales is a reward business. Sales people, like busers and waiters, need to be compensated based on their own efforts. It’s motivating and equitable. If you have shared quotas, stop it now. That’s all that needs to be said about that. Just stop it.

Beyond sales, I’d like to see this extend throughout entire organizations. Imagine if a percentage of the legal organization’s salary was tied to an internal satisfaction survey? Imagine if sales rated marketing on how well they brought in leads and this rating determined their bonus. Imagine if HR were paid based on internal employee satisfaction. You can sign me up for that organization now. How different do you think an organization would be if everyone’s comp was, in one way or another, determined by how well they served their customers?

Pooled tips effected how much extra effort I wanted to put in and it will for your employees too. Create an environment were the people who kick ass get rewarded, immediately and more than those who don’t.

They will make sure your customers water glasses are ALWAYS filled!