Men in engaging employees should be careful to get the best. Understand, you cannot have too good tools to work with, and there is no tool you should be so particular about as living tools. If you get a good one, it is better to keep him, than keep changing. He learns something every day; and you are benefited by the experience he acquires. He is worth more to you this year than last, and he is the last man to part with, provided his habits are good, and he continues faithful. If, as he gets more valuable, he demands an exorbitant increase of salary; on the supposition that you can’t do without him, let him go. Whenever I have such an employee, I always discharge him; first, to convince him that his place may be supplied, and second, because he is good for nothing if he thinks he is invaluable and cannot be spared.
But I would keep him, if possible, in order to profit from the result of his experience. An important element in an employee is the brain. You can see bills up, „Hands Wanted,” but „hands” are not worth a great deal without „heads.” Mr. Beecher illustrates this, in this wise:
An employee offers his services by saving, „I have a pair of hands and one of my fingers thinks.” „That is very good,” says the employer. Another man comes along, and says „he has two fingers that think.” „Ah! that is better.” But a third calls in and says that „all his fingers and thumbs think.” That is better still. Finally another steps in and says, „I have a brain that thinks; I think all over; I am a thinking as well as a working man!” „You are the man I want,” says the delighted employer.
Those men who have brains and experience are therefore the most valuable and not to be readily parted with; it is better for them, as well as yourself, to keep them, at reasonable advances in their salaries from time to time.