Money’s not everything

Many employers might expect that employees will always be interested in making more money. This is true to an extent, people want a fair wage for the work they do. We all have bills to pay, things to save for and reasons why to earn money. However, money is not intrinsically motivating. Not compensating people fairly can create an unhappy and unmotivated staff. If staff view their pay as unfair, it will be problematic for the employer, but paying more than a “fair wage” does not create positive outcomes by itself. More money on its own does not create a happier and more motivated workforce.

For example, one could assume that giving raises to employees should ensure that retention rates remain high. However, a survey from the iOpener Institute for People and Performance found there was no correlation between pay increases and retention rates. Employee engagement was identified as more important in retaining staff. This was particularly true for the younger Gen Y generation..

A survey conducted by CTHRC’s Workforce Matters Panel had similar results. The survey found a very high level of employee engagement among respondents. It includes feeling that they have a positive relationship with managers and peers, good levels of workplace communication, that their input mattered and that they had the resources available to do their jobs. This is despite the fact that less than two-thirds of respondents felt they were paid fairly for the work they were doing.

Fair wages are always necessary. However, employers need to understand what else is important to their employees. Being the highest paying employer cannot offset an unpleasant work environment without the non-monetary aspects that employees want.

Research by the CTHRC on non-wage benefits found that employee discounts or free services were a common perquisite employers offered. In 2012, 73% percent offered this, but according to employees, it is not a highly valued perk. According to employees, the most desired benefit is a health and/or dental plan. This may seem counter intuitive in a workforce has such a high proportion of youth but in fact, young workers ranked health and dental plans more highly than older workers.

The tourism workforce is young compared to the general labour force but it is aging. The percentage of tourism workers over age 45 increased by 4.5% in 2006 compared to 2001. As the workforce ages, tourism employers may want to look at offering benefits and perks commonly preferred by older workers, such as vacation time greater than two weeks, health/dental plans, and flexible hours.

Good management, flexible work hours, positive work environment – these are all things that attract employees in the first place and keep them from leaving once they are there. Highly engaged employees demonstrate higher retention levels, higher productivity and lower absenteeism compared to their less engaged counterparts. Offering an all-round employment package that hits the areas of interest for the target labour market along with a positive, well-managed work environment will save on recruitment and retention costs as well as build an engaged, happy workforce to serve customers.


Using Benefits to Attract Workers: The value proposition of non-wage benefits

Employee Engagements