Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

My TPRP Model For Determining Workplace Value

I’ve been giving this piece of advice for years ad realized I never actually put the words to paper.  I think we’d all agree that money is nice.  Getting paid to do what you love is great.  Getting paid peanuts to do what you love is foolish.  Whenever I’ve interviewed, listened to a recruiter sell a job, or evaluated my current “situation” I use a model I created years ago called “TPRP.”

It’s too easy to let emotions impact a decision.  People will choose jobs or even worse, elect to stay at their current job for many emotionally driven reasons.  Me?  I separate logic from emotion.  I want the facts.  I want to be able to really evaluate my current standing and opportunities thate are made available.

The TPRP model is simple.  Each letter stands for a different variable:

  • Title – Your title indicates to internally and externally your rank in a company.  If I told you nothing about a company, but I told you Jill is the Chief Marketing Officer, you’d assume Jill is a pretty important person at the company.  It doesn’t matter that the company is made up of 3 people: Jill, her husband, and her sister.  Jill is a CMO and that means something to people.
  • People – How many people will you be directly managing?  A CMO that doesn’t manage any of the marketers has little influence and power.  The size of your “army” speaks volumes about your importance.  Equally as important is who, what person, is managing you?  If you aren’t managed by someone with influence and power that can help you meet your objectives, you’ll be in a world of hurt.
  • Role – Titles are great, but if I call you SVP Marketing Innovation and your role on a daily basis is to take out the trash, clearly we have a problem.  Yes, that’s a dramatic example, but it helps make my point.  What you are supposed to do, or better yet, what you actually do are critical components to job satisfaction and determining your value to an organization.  In the agency world, imagine being called a Creative Director, but your role is actually to write copy.  There isn’t anything wrong with writing copy, but if that’s all you do, you’ll be seen as a Writer, not a Creative Director.
  • Pay – This is the tricky one.  While Title, People, and Role are things that everyone can plainly see, only you, the CFO, HR, and your boss (usually) know your compensation.  Of course you want to be paid fairly.  We all do.  But, generally what you think is fair and what your company thinks is fair are too different things.  The problem with the pay variable is that while it’s a very personal/private element it’s also the most tangible.  Every two weeks you feel it.  Anytime a recruiter calls or you see a job posting, it’s a constant reminder.  While you can’t be seduced by the all mighty dollar, you do need to remember that it’s money that will set you free eventually.  Make more at a younger age and you can retire quicker.  Settle for a fraction of your value and you’ll be working till your 90.

Knowing the categories is important, but weighting them to your liking and preferences is the key.  Some people value money over titeles.  An extreme example might be someone that says, “call me the janitor, pay me $1,000,000 a year, and I’ll be quite happy.”  I assign each category a weighting between 0 and 100.  It doesn’t matter how much you assign to each category so long as it totals 100.

Once you know have your weighting figured out, you can start evaluating.  If you are comparing 3 jobs (your current job + 2 others) all you need to do is score each category with a 1, 2, or 3 based on which company is offering the best in that category.  I realize this might be hard to follow, so here’s a visual:

[this chart is for presentation purposes only; it doesn’t represent my current situation]

In comparing the current job against the two alternatives based on predetermined weights, it becomes easy to see that it’s time to move on to Job #1.  My goal when I started using TPRP was to come up with a systematic way to evaluate how I was being valued.  I use the term value, because to me all 4 of the elements in TPRP define your value, not your worth.  Your salary/pay defines your worth.  I wanted to see value.  I’ve used this approach for years.  My personal weights have changed, but I’ve never needed to adjust the categories.

The interesting thing about this approach is that you can apply it to people you don’t even know.  Take Barack Obama for example.  You can’t get a better tite than President of the United States.  He’s responsible indirectly for the entire country and directly for a substantial amount of people.  His role is very desirable.  But, the annual salary of the president kinda stinks when you compare it to presidents of fortune 500 companies.  The president’s salary is $400,000.  When you consider all he/she will do and how much Alex Rodriguez makes, well it seems like the president is underpaid.  If you were to just look at salary, the job isn’t very desirable.  But, when you put in the other 3 variables the position becomes one of the most coveted.

I hope this helps.  In these challenging economic times it’s good to know your value.