Here’s what your employees want more than a pay rise

October 6, 2015 Kim Schollick No Comments

There’s a pervasive belief among many business owners and managers that, in order to attract and retain the best talent, you have to offer the best salary. That might all good and well for the multinationals and giant conglomerates, but for smaller enterprises, it can feel like securing great talent for your business is out of your reach.

However, the results from jobs and recruiting website Glassdoor’s latest Employment Confidence Survey suggest it’s not that black and white – there are a number of benefits and perks that staff value more than money. You can see the entire list in the full report from Glassdoor here, but in the meantime, I want to take a look at three different, highly-regarded benefits your staff want that you may able to take on board.

Flexible schedules

In 2013, head of HR at Yahoo!, Jackie Reses, sent out a memo to all employees, informing them that she was ending their work from home program. While the memo was, in general, directed at remote staff who worked from home full-time, it also had implications for staff who had arrangements to work from home one or two days a week.

People everywhere – especially in the tech industry – were shocked by this announcement. As we discussed last week, working from home has become increasingly acceptable (if not encouraged) in a number of industries, and a heavyweight like Yahoo! coming out against the practice was surprising, to say the least.

The feedback from staff in the wake of the announcement was, as you’d expect, fairly scathing. One staff wrote to Kara Wisher at the Wall Street Journal, “Even if that was what was previously agreed to with managers and HR, or was a part of the package to take a position, tough … It’s outrageous and a morale killer.”

Staff place a lot of value on flexible work schedules – after all, it makes it a lot easier to deal with a sick child, wait for the repairman who’s given you a six-hour window in which he might arrive, or recover from a cold without falling behind. It’s no surprise, then, that according to the Glassdoor survey, 30% of staff would prefer a flexible work schedule to a pay rise.

Childcare programs

In Australia, the average cost of child care is $100 a day, which works out to be $500 a week for a parent placing their child in care 5 days a week. In contrast, the average weekly income in Australia is $1484.

That means a working parent on an average salary can easily spend a third of their income on childcare. If you have more than one child, it becomes a lot more financially viable to stay at home with the kids, rather than shelling out for child care. Unsurprisingly, the Glassdoor survey indicates that 13% of staff would prefer childcare assistance to a pay rise.

At present, around 3% of workplaces in Australia offer childcare services, though given the rising cost of living, and the fact that living on a single income is a luxury few families can afford, it seems likely that number will increase. While operating an on-site childcare facility may not be viable for most businesses, there are other options – including establishing a partnership with external providers, subsidizing placements to local childcare centres, or running holiday programs.

Health and wellbeing

With smartphone ownership ever on the rise (around 85% of Australians currently own a smartphone), the line between work and life seems to be increasingly blurred. The ability to be contacted at any time of day means it’s not uncommon to answer emails, make calls or work on projects well after you’ve left your workplace at the end of the day.

This ‘switched-on’ approach to work means that it can sometimes feel like we never really leave work behind – which can very problematic, both mentally and physically.

Staff are aware of the implications and causes of burnout, and are beginning to see the value in employer-provided health and wellbeing programs, with 16% of respondents in the Glassdoor survey preferencing wellness programs over a pay rise.

Health insurer Medibank Private knows that staff health is important, and their Melbourne office is testament to that. Equipped with sports courts, outdoor terraces, a herb garden and bike ramps, the office is designed around the philosophy that a working environment should be a healthy and happy one.

The important thing to recognise here is that there are any number of benefits you can offer to attract and retain the very best talent in your industry – as long as you’re tuned into your staff needs.

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