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Good Compensation Means More Than a Good Salary

  • Publish Date: Posted over 4 years ago
  • Author: Kathy Van Pelt

Good Compensation Means More Than a Good Salary

Given the strong economic performance across many U.S. industries, IT workers today hold much higher expectations for greater increases in wages and bonuses. 

Good Compensation Means More Than a Good Salary

This fact creates a slippery slope for HR executives and hiring managers when it comes to dishing out higher pay rates and salaries.

On one hand, they will need to factor in employee expectations to remain competitive and to attract and retain talent. On the other hand, there are other, more creative ways to “compensate” employees without busting payroll budgets.

Today, employers that face strict budgets are turning to perks and incentives such as flexible work hours, telecommuting, workplace wellness programs, advancement opportunities, and profit sharing to secure top candidates. 

By making a healthy work-life balance part of their compensation package, these employers take advantage of cost-effective, alternative compensation strategies to remain competitive.

This topic was explored in a recent IT panel discussion hosted by MATRIX, where Atlanta IT leaders came together to talk about creative ways to attract and retain talent in today's tight labor market. You can download a webinar recording of this same topic here.

Not Micromanaging

“Not micromanaging is a big perk we offer when we can’t give a high salary,” said one local technology director. “People want to have control over their own work. Let them run their own shop, give them flexibility and freedom. This can foster an environment of empowerment that can’t be matched by money.”

Tami Hall, Director, Information Systems & Delivery, Core & Main agrees. “There are a small number of people who are truly motivated by money. There’s one day a year you can give them a raise or bonus that they’re excited about, but the other 364 days of the years they’re motivated by other things. They want to work on exciting things, or things that are important and have an impact. You have to figure out the secret formula that’s going to keep people engaged,” she said.

Recognize Value

Employees who are recognized for the value they bring are more likely to be motivated, loyal, and high-performing. There are many different ways that management and HR departments can communicate appreciation specific to the individual. 

“If you have an employee who is motivated by her family, send an email to the whole team congratulating her on her new granddaughter. If you have an employee motivated by work, send a department-wide email recognizing his huge efforts on a project,” said Hall. “Recognize and celebrate your team and the work they’re doing. You may not be able to pay more, but you can provide opportunities to show your employees how they’ve progressed. Feeling appreciated goes a long way.”

Publicize Your Good Works

Hall said these approaches can apply to hiring as well.

“People want to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. Ask candidates what they do in their free time”, she said. “Many millennials like volunteering, so tell them about your community service projects, and then get them involved on the committee as soon as they’re in the door.

Publicize volunteering to brand your company and people will come to you wanting to work for a company that makes a difference.”

Keeping in mind these alternative compensation strategies will pay off in the long term as you attract and retain high-performing employees.