Wanting More

Oliver Twist asking for more soup

Remember the scene from Oliver Twist where the master of the orphanage was outraged when Oliver, new to the orphanage, asked for more soup? During a recession, it’s easy for hiring managers to imagine that both candidates and employees should be happy with whatever they are offered since a surplus of candidates may appear to create an employer’s market. But as an employer, you need to be aware of the potential surprises that accompany that line of reasoning, because like Oliver Twist, workers today want more!

Savvy Candidates

First of all, today’s candidates are savvier than you may think. They know their market value and are not content to just lap up any crumbs being offered to them. According to a recent survey from Personified, CareerBuilder’s talent consulting arm, 17 percent of unemployed workers received a job offer since becoming unemployed. Of that 17 percent, a shocking 92 percent rejected the offer, with 54 percent saying they did so because the offer was too low. Take advantage of this timely reminder: Start every job search by running a salary comparison check for your position’s occupation and geographical area. Your staffing partner is a great resource for running comps.

Restless Employees

As for existing employees, there is a real danger that as the economy improves, they will leave their organizations, a fear validated by 43 percent of 2,457 employers surveyed by CareerBuilder.com* between August 17 and September 2, 2010. Because of this concern, 31 percent expressed a willingness to negotiate 2011 salary increases with current employees. Included in that negotiation, employers said they hope to hear from employees a list of specific accomplishments and results they’ve achieved; a range of desired salary increase and the justification for it; an expressed understanding of what’s important to the company; and a history of performance reviews to back up their requests. From your side of the table, view these factors through the lens of how they influence your bottom line.

Creative Perks

The survey also elicited recommendations from employers who are unable to provide raises. The list of perks to entice employees to stay included more flexible work hours, bonuses, training, vacation time, more casual dress codes, academic reimbursement, and title change. What can you glean from this list in your effort to retain top employees in the coming year? Be creative and get in touch with what your employees value most so you can offer meaningful perks.

Another recent survey*, this one by job aggregator SimplyHired, supports that idea. It found that an amazing 83 percent of job seekers would rather have a job they love than a job that pays well. A job they love would first include the work itself and the people they work with; pay was the third motivator on the list! So the job, the opportunity, and your company’s culture are all at least as valuable as the salary range you have to offer, if not more.

A Cost-Free Perk

Of course, in any economy, the best way to keep employees happy is to appreciate them in as many ways as possible. Eli Holzman, who creates the show Undercover Boss, tells about his visit to a White Castle frozen food packaging plant, where the CEO gave him a tour of the facility prior to taping. In the middle of the tour, the CEO stopped to introduce Holzman to a woman working on the line, pointing out that she had a perfect attendance record of nine years. Recalling that the woman’s face lit up with joy upon being recognized for this accomplishment, Holzman said, “I think that’s what’s at the heart of Undercover Boss: We crave esteem, and we crave recognition for our hard work . . . and when someone appreciates us, it means the world to us.”

The truth is that everyone wants more. Candidates want better offers, while employees want pay increases and perks. You, their employer, want more commitment and loyalty from your employees. If you are prepared to negotiate and offer meaningful perks, everyone stands a chance at getting more of what they want . . . including the mutual appreciation and respect that make it worth going to work tomorrow morning.

*For the full report from CareerBuilder, go to https://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr604&sd=11%2f10%2f2010&ed=12%2f31%2f2010&siteid=cbpr&sc_cmp1=cb_pr604_ .

For “Today’s Job Seeker Report” by SimplyHired, go to https://www.simplyhired.com.

By Marcianne Kuethen – ©Amtec 2010

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