#HR Trends and Insights | Money Savings

Employees Want More than Money

May 08, 2019

Do you think throwing money at your employees and job candidates is the best way to their hearts?

Think again.

Research from Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ashley V. Whillans says its money isn’t always the answer in every situation.

In fact, companies spend more than a fifth of money on wages, but more than 80 percent of Americans do not feel recognized or rewarded in the workplace.

Benefits of an engaged workforce

It should be the business owner or manager’s goal to have a truly engaged workplace or team.

Research has shown that by having an engaged workforce, you’re more likely to experience positive business outcomes. Engaged employees typically mean you’ll have less turnover and a more productive workforce.

Creating that bond with employees, so they see their jobs as “more than just a job” isn’t always easy.

What employees want

According to Whillans, employees want their managers to show appreciation for the work they do. This could include flexible scheduling or other smaller gestures. Employees are looking for managers to demonstrate they care about the effort that went into a big project, for example.

Whillans’ research focuses on what makes people happy. What she has found is when employers give rewards, it has an impact on future work. Workers tend to work harder and can be more productive.

She suggests an employee recognition program as an excellent way to start because it benefits everyone. Recognition programs can increase productivity, reduce turnover, and produce a solid return.

Read more: What Makes People Happy in a Job?

Getting the most from your benefits

One area where you can make an impact on employees, and especially candidates, is with your benefits. And it doesn’t have to wait until the interview. For example, are you listing all your great benefits in the job ad? If not, you could be losing candidates compared to your competition.

Start with Employee Recognition

Whillans said benefits like flexible schedules and training could give you an edge. This is especially true with perks like commuter benefits. Candidates would appreciate hearing about how they can save money on their commutes if you are offering commuter benefits with your company.

With commuter benefits company save up to 7.65 percent in payroll taxes. In the first year offering the benefits, employers save $41 per month for each participating employee. If 50 employees participate over 12 months, the company saves over $24,000 annually.*

Employees can save up to 40 percent on commuting costs by setting aside money in their paychecks tax-free. They can use the benefits for mass transit, qualified parking, and rideshares (Uber and Lyft).

Whillans says candidates are attracted to the “softer rewards” in the job ads. And your current employees will appreciate you helping them save money every month just for commuting to work.

Want to learn more about commuter benefits? Download our 101 guide:

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