by Dallon Christensen

Pay Isn’t Everything

Aug 12, 20113 mins
CareersIT Leadership

Creative workplace strategies can help you keep the best employees, in finance and beyond.

Here we go again. The stock market’s wild ride this week may rattle business confidence, and put the brakes on most future hiring decisions. This uncertainty may also bring pay raises into question.

But if you think pay and benefits are the only levers a company has for keeping your employees engaged and happy, you are mistaken. In fact, non-monetary factors may be the differentiating factor in keeping your best employees, according to an article in Fortune magazine this week. It emphasizes that creating a work environment that makes employees feel more desirable tends to engage them more at work.

This may seem counterintuitive in some ways. But this mindset may help keep your best employees, while actually decreasing your expenses.

A recent series of studies demonstrates how happy and engaged employees can boost productivity and can advocate for your company, as well. More than 50% of CFOs, however, lack an understanding of such return on human capital investments.

If your business is facing reduced salary budgets, do not fret — yet, at least. Investing in these types of non-monetary benefits may actually do more than pay raises when it comes to creating a top-notch workplace. Some suggestions:

* More flexible working arrangements. I wrote about the power of remote working engagements in a past CFOWorld post. Allowing employees more freedom to choose where they work will demonstrate a level of trust and confidence that they need not be micromanaged.

* Shifting workloads to more engaging activities. Let’s face it, some finance jobs can become pretty tedious. Month-end closings, endless efforts to chase inputs from others who see finance as the “bad cop”, and constant review of spreadsheets can get old. If you reward your high performers with more strategic work or opportunities to work with senior management, these employees will often receive a morale boost.

* More frequent recognition. As I continue to build Whiteboard Business Partners, I have resumed full-time work as a financial analyst for a local company. This company does an excellent job of recognizing those who make an extra effort to help others. It’s fun to see the smiles on these faces as they receive “another piece of the puzzle.”

Our economic rollercoaster, along with continued cost pressures, may to limit pay raises and bonuses for some time to come. But creative planning and attention to what really engages employees may be enough to let you hold onto your best employees during difficult times.