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Money Talks… 5 Tips for What Else Does

Is this the only thing every employee really wants from their company?

Maybe… But then again, maybe not…

Don’t get me wrong; when it comes to the topic of salary, I’m all about the Benjamins (baby). But are there any acceptable alternatives? If you’re building the best place to work, then the answer should be yes.

Acclaimed novelist Jane Austen, who’s had many of her books posthumously turned into movies that I, like most guys, would rather be posthumous then be forced to watch, once proclaimed that, “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”

While not everyone is inclined to agree that money can buy happiness (me, for one), the expression “money talks” does ring true for every employee. A recent survey by Salary.com revealed that 57 percent of employees indicated they were somewhat or very likely to intensify their job search in the next three months, with low compensation being the leading reason why.

The issue can be a double-edged sword. Companies must find ways to compensate their employees adequately if they want to retain and keep them happy, but in this down-turning economy (who are we kidding—it’s downright awful), finding enough ingredients to make Ms. Pride & Prejudice’s best recipe for each and every employee is impossible. Still, those who pay employees fairly will be looked upon as a “best place” to work. The ones who do not will find workers agreeing with writer/critic Edmund Wilson, who proposed, “There is nothing more demoralizing than a small but adequate income,” and look elsewhere.

So what’s a company to do?

Build the best place to work by compensating in ways that make employees feel valued and respected for their efforts, yet remain budget-friendly. Try incorporating these tips to help you put your money where your mouth is when it comes to fair pay:

Flexible and Friendly 401(k)s
Certain rules and regulations apply to retirement accounts, but companies who maximize the potential and offer restriction flexibility not only create opportunities for investing in the future, but also greater loyalty. Google Inc. allows employees to put up to 60 percent of their pay towards a 401(k) plan and as a company, will either match contributions up to 100 percent or up to 50 percent with no vesting schedule. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. offers employees the opportunity to participate in the company’s stock purchase plan with semi-annual enrollment dates, discounted prices and paycheck contributions of up to 15 percent.

Spread the Wealth
Profit-sharing shows employees appreciation for a job well-done in making the past year a success. It also creates a sense of ownership for employees, a desire to see their company succeed, and loyalty to stick around for future profits and growth. This type of compensation is also budget-friendly as it allows for flexibility on payroll regardless of whether or not a company’s books are in the black or red. J.R. Filanc Construction Co. in Escondido offers a generous revenue-sharing plan which ties into an employee’s pension account: up to 18 percent of corporate earnings go into individual pensions with no paycheck deductions. 

Powered-Up PTO
There is nothing like getting away from the nine-to-five (and usually longer) grind. Employees whose companies offer good paid-time-off programs will find themselves more inclined to stick around longer, knowing they can take a break when needed. Accounting and tax firm KPMG offers most employees a full five weeks of vacation in their first year of coming on board. Some companies also have corporate getaways by the beach or some other exotic location, and allow employees to take advantage of these properties for family vacations. Principal Financial Group actually offers employees the opportunity to buy time off beyond their allotted amounts.

Incent
Incentives benefit both company and employee. It is a boon to customers as well whom, as a result, typically get better service. Regardless of the recipient and type of incentive–whether it’s extra income, vacation getaways or other prizes–it usually breeds success. The employees of Integrated Payroll Services recently saw their salaries increase between 5 and 7 percent after meeting different challenges, such as retaining a percentage of clients. The company benefited as well, losing only one account. Likewise, Southern California’s DPR Construction Inc. offers performance-based bonuses which help to create an entrepreneurial-type environment.

Foot the Bill
Covering an expense can prevent money from leaving an employee’s wallet, which can be looked upon as a raise of sorts. Paying for parking or buying dinner when late nights are required are small gestures of appreciation to employees. Methodist Hospital System in Houston recently offered its entire workforce (except top executives) $250 gas cards to help offset soaring fuel prices, and Microsoft provides its employees dry cleaning services and free grocery delivery. By all means confirm with your CPA before taking my word exclusively for it, but these costs may also be tax deductible.

So ask your employees, “What can I do for you?” and then show them not the money per se, but the compensation for building the best place to work.

How do you show your employees the money, or alternative forms of compensation to keep them happy? Does your approach to this issue in today’s economy differ?

5 comments
Anastasia
Anastasia

Matt Wilson,

I am sure that there might be another Matt Wilson. BUT, I went to grade school with a "Matt Wilson"? St.Rita's Dallas, TX?

Let me know. If so, a lot of us have connected through facebook.

If this is another Matt Wilson, please feel free to contact me through Facebook as well. One can never have too many conacts named Matt Wilson.

Take Care,

Anastasia aka Stacy Sillaway

Anastasia
Anastasia

Matt Wilson,

I am sure that there might be another Matt Wilson. BUT, I went to grade school with a "Matt Wilson"? St.Rita's Dallas, TX?

Let me know. If so, a lot of us have connected through facebook.

If this is another Matt Wilson, please feel free to contact me through Facebook as well. One can never have too many conacts named Matt Wilson.

Take Care,

Anastasia aka Stacy Sillaway

Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson

Ron, thank you for your feedback. I agree that what works well for one company does not necessarily mean it may work for another, as your examples illustrate.

You have also brought up an even bigger issue in regards to trust. In this series of posts, we've been examining what makes a company one of the best places to work, and establishing employee trust is certainly a foundation any company should employ as part of its core.

Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions
Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions

I certainly agree that there are ways other than direct salary increases to retain top employees. I think all of the ways you presented are certainly viable methods. I would offer one word of caution.

When it comes to profit-sharing, I have found that this works only when the employees have COMPLETE trust in management. I have heard employees say, "My profit-sharing was much lower than it should have been because the comapany is not telling us the truth about how much money they really made." I have even heard these types of comments from employees who worked for publicly traded corporations. Employees will accuse their employer of "keeping two sets of books." Without trust, profit-sharing can have the opposite effect of what was intended.

I usually favor incentives that are easy to prove and measure. For example, give an incentive for meeting particular customer retention objectives. Provide incentive compensation if coustomers A,B & C, purchase a total of X number of units during the next 12 months. Incentives such as this one are easy to measure and easy for everyone to see.

Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions
Ron Meledandri - Sentra Business Solutions

I certainly agree that there are ways other than direct salary increases to retain top employees. I think all of the ways you presented are certainly viable methods. I would offer one word of caution.

When it comes to profit-sharing, I have found that this works only when the employees have COMPLETE trust in management. I have heard employees say, "My profit-sharing was much lower than it should have been because the comapany is not telling us the truth about how much money they really made." I have even heard these types of comments from employees who worked for publicly traded corporations. Employees will accuse their employer of "keeping two sets of books." Without trust, profit-sharing can have the opposite effect of what was intended.

I usually favor incentives that are easy to prove and measure. For example, give an incentive for meeting particular customer retention objectives. Provide incentive compensation if coustomers A,B & C, purchase a total of X number of units during the next 12 months. Incentives such as this one are easy to measure and easy for everyone to see.

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  1. [...] out the wazoo to cover a variety of costs are available with this family-owned business, as well as creative methods for compensating employees. Consistent leadership and corporate vision may be a question mark at times, and the real estate [...]

  2. [...] out the wazoo to cover a variety of costs are available with this family-owned business, as well as creative methods for compensating employees. Consistent leadership and corporate vision may be a question mark at times, and the real estate [...]

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