Low employee retention rates are not an indication of happy employees. While there are many factors that can contribute to employee retention rates, compensation and benefits tend to fall high on that list, due in large part to how employee pay directly contributes to an employee’s sense of how they’re valued at the company. Thanks to sites like Glassdoor, employees and even potential new hires can research the average compensation for their position or the salary of other employees at your company. When an employee discovers they are being underpaid, it’s bound to cause a few issues.
As a human resources professional, you tend to be in a unique position where you want to do well for your employees, but you also have a responsibility to your employer. When it comes to employee compensation and benefits, there may be some differences in goals between the two. Your employees deserve to be treated fairly and paid what they’re worth while your employer also deserves to pay employees what’s reasonable. To help you find the compromise between the two while keeping your employees happy, we have the following suggestions:
Pay employees what they fairly deserve or find other ways to offer value
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first: you should be paying your employees a fair and livable wage. This number will vary depending on where your company is located, the level of your employees, the annual revenue of your company, and more. If you aren’t exactly sure what these numbers look like, do your research using the same tools your employees are using.
While it is most heavily used by job seekers, Glassdoor is also a great tool for human resources professionals to utilize because its information is typically compiled from actual employees, meaning the feedback is usually honest (sometimes brutal), and it tends to be accurate.
Another resource of information is LinkedIn. Many job seekers use LinkedIn as a job search tool, but this site also shows users the average salary by job title. When determining what employees might make on average in their role (and learning what your competitors might pay them), use LinkedIn as a research tool to discover if you are underpaying your team.
We understand that not every company is bringing in millions of dollars in revenue each year. Of course, this factor is going to impact what you can offer employees. However, you still need to provide your employees something of value. Below are some options:
- Company stock or equity
- Paid sick days and vacation time
- Opportunities for employee development
These options are only a few on a long list of possibilities. Learn what your company is in a position to offer and take it from there.
Don’t use “Instagramable” or “flashy” benefits in place of real benefits
The only people who are going to be impressed by a ping pong table in the break room are college students who have never had professional experiences before. Showcasing all of the “flashy” and fun benefits your company has to offer is nothing more than a way to distract from paying employees poorly or offering them little in the way of benefits. If that sounded harsh, it’s probably because your company is currently doing something similar.
When considering if a benefit is flashy or real, consider how you would feel if it was being offered to you or those you care about. If your loved one came back to you after receiving a job offer saying they weren’t given paid personal time off but that they had free coffee in the break room, what would you say to them?
If you want to bring on team members who are going to be with your company for at least a few years, you need to consider if what you’re offering them in terms of benefits is sustainable. Health insurance, vacation time, and sick days are all sustainable benefits. A ping pong table and a cool mug are only fun for five minutes. Granted, both of those options are still fun, and if you want to include them, we encourage it! However, it can’t be the only benefit your company has to offer.
It’s all about “real good” not “feel good.” We had a similar discussion regarding diversity and inclusion efforts with Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Fossil, Sheri Crosby Wheeler, which you can read more about here.
Understand what your team needs and be willing to negotiate on those needs
It’s amazing what a simple conversation can solve when you’re willing to ask the right questions. If you want to know what your employees need to remain happy at your company, you have to ask. You should also be prepared to accept answers you may not particularly like.
Communication and transparency are not only important during the talent acquisition process— they remain critical aspects of how your team functions every day. Before you can begin to have these conversations, you need to be able to help your employees feel heard. Once your employees know they can be open and honest with you, the process of change can begin.
When attempting to understand what matters most to your employees, consider asking the following questions:
- Do you feel you are being fairly compensated?
- Do you feel that your current benefits are relevant for you?
- Do you feel that you are receiving what was promised to you?
- Are there any benefits that you are not currently receiving that you would like to receive?
There are bound to be options your employees want that you may not be able to realistically offer them at that time, and that’s okay. By initiating the conversation, you are at least communicating to your employees: I hear your concerns, I care about your needs, and I want to help meet those needs. A step in the right direction, even if it’s only a baby step, is still better than not taking any steps at all.
If your conversations start to become difficult, read this article on how to handle difficult negotiations.
When you are able to make your employees feel valued and help them meet their needs, you are contributing to their overall satisfaction in your company and their job. As a result, they are more likely to remain with your company versus jumping ship when a better offer comes around. Now, it’s important to understand that improved compensation and benefits are not the only factors out there that will keep your employees satisfied, but they are certainly big ones.
For more information on how to improve your human resources operations, continue to stop by BrandResumes’ HR Corner every Friday for new articles.