“They get a pay cheque that should be enough.” Unfortunately, this is a direct quote from an Operations Manager I once worked with. In speaking with industry colleagues, I think it has also been uttered in many other organizations! The sad truth is that far too many managers in the business world feel that an organizations sole commitment and required offering to its employees is a pay cheque. Now, that may be in fact true if you are willing to accept high turnover, less than ideal customer service and an inferior product from your employees. You see, the truth is that your employees want and need MORE than just a pay cheque. In fact, the BEST employees are looking for much more.
The pay cheque is like a ticket to the game. Reality is that for employees, the pay cheque is like the base amount that is required to keep them “in the game.” It is what they receive so they can pay their bills, make their mortgage payment, take the odd vacation and get their kids braces when they need them. A pay cheque, assuming it is half ways decent, keeps them returning day over day and week over week to your company. Because they need that pay cheque, will perform at a certain level so as to keep earning the pay cheque from their employer, which in turn they use to keep paying bills, etc.
Here is the thing, you are only going to get so much from your employees if they are only in it for a pay cheque and all you are offering is a pay cheque. Think of the pay cheque as the foundation to a house. Without a good solid foundation, you can have the nicest house on the block, but it isn’t going last. In the same vein, once you have a solid foundation, you can build a nice house that fits your long term needs, one that you will enjoy coming home to everyday, all the while knowing it is laid on top of a solid foundation.
The same goes for your employees. The pay cheque is their foundation and you need to build on top of that foundation so as to sustain the employment relationship. “Well, we offer a great benefits package too, so that plus a pay cheque should be enough!” Yup, heard that one too and the benefits package follows the same theme as the pay cheque. It is foundational in nature and should be used to lay the ground work for a solid employee/employer relationship, not used as icing on the cake. You need to build on the foundation by providing things like:
• Training and development opportunities. T&D is an investment in your employees who are looking to learn and grow in their current (or future) role(s) within your organization. This is one element that links to a higher level of employee engagement and long term sustainability with your ‘human resources.
’Rewards and Recognition. R&R are the next tier of offerings that organizations can provide in order to support and sustain the employee/employer relationship. It starts with developing a culture of recognition and is augmented by an effective rewards program. Rewards are most effective when linked to specific behaviours and performance outcomes you are looking for from your employees. It has been my experience that employees respond very positively to genuine recognition and rewards being given. It helps to drive employee engagement and really helps sustain the connection that employees have with the companies that they work for.
• Salary Reviews/Merit Pay – by committing to your employees to review their salaries on a regular basis AND recognizing them for their performance by increasing it in relation to said performance, you are further augmenting the overall compensation package you are providing to your staff.
• Individual and/or group bonuses – things like individual variable pay plans and group bonuses (i.e. based on a balanced scorecard or department outcomes) will also help solidify employee engagement/discretionary effort.
• Manager/Staff employee relations – the working relationship with their direct supervisor is critical. This can often be the reason for everything falling apart if you don’t have effective supervisors. A positive relationship here, typically one that involves respect, coaching and good communication, can go a long way in retaining your employees. Additionally, great working relationships with co-workers also foster and support the employer/employee relationship. People want to feel good about going to work and who they work with.
• Workplace culture enhancements – these are things like birthday celebrations, staff luncheons, holiday gifts, etc. I place them lower on the list because without the previous items in place, their impact is minimal. However, when used to build upon other compensation and reward items they can have a very positive effect on employee relations and ultimately retention.
The whole point of this exercise of identifying additional items that you can provide to your employees is to show, quite simply, that a pay cheque is not enough. Employees are looking for more from their employers in the employment relationship. In a similar manner, employees are also willing and wanting to GIVE more in the employment relationship. Again, it comes down to employee engagement and performance. In the ever challenging quest to find and retain talent, these are all areas of opportunity at an organization’s disposal to effectively attract, engage and retain said talent, all while providing more than just a pay cheque. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.
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