Employers are constantly trying to meet employee expectations, right down to the perks they offer for working long hours. Sometimes those benefits are necessary, and sometimes they’re frivolous. What do employees really want, though?
Just as critically, how can companies make employees feel valued without throwing money and random perks their way? It’s a balancing act, but data shows it might not be quite as difficult as some make it out to be.
Our Dice Salary Survey shows most employees want very basic things. More money is always a motivating factor for sticking with an employer, but an increasing number of employees also want flexible hours and the ability to work remotely. Almost as many say they need more challenges at work, while a select few say a promotion or more training would keep them interested in their current employer.
ITSM provider SysAid Technologies compiled a list of perks it says employees are looking for, and it echoes Dice’s own data. A work-life balance is key: “It’s important for companies to recognize that employees have a life outside of their job and respect that. A few ways to do this are offering flexible work hours so employees can focus on their tasks and responsibilities rather than abiding by strict work hours.”
In addition, perks such as paid time off for volunteer work can help employees feel less tied to a desk, and may contribute to another perk that SysAid recommends: a healthy work environment. If a company wants to get really locked into taking care of employees, SysAid recommends completing mundane tasks. If the budget allows, for example, a concierge service for dry cleaning or car washes, that “sends a message” the company understands its employees have things to do besides compile code.
All this derives from intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Our intrinsic motivators come from within. Perks such as the desire for a promotion or more certifications at work are intrinsic. The rest are external factors that spurn us to do more because we feel comfortable or pressured to perform.
In a recently published eBook, Bonusly points out that equity also plays a big role. If a company is going to reward its staff, it’s important to make sure everyone is able to benefit. “One of the most common, yet avoidable sources for controversy in an organization is the equity with which team members are compensated and rewarded for the work they do. Without equity, motivational tools can become the source of animosity and disengagement, defeating their entire purpose.”
Specificity is also critical, Bonusly suggested. Letting employees know why they’re being rewarded is key. It’s in those moments when an extrinsic benefit churns intrinsic drive. If a company party for a recently shipped product brings little more than “great job, everyone” as a message, the marketing and engineering teams may not feel as though their work is appreciated, because management hasn’t expressed it even understands what they do.
This all matters. Retention is at stake for employers; in our Dice Salary Survey, 40 percent of respondents say they’re ready to jump ship. Some 69 percent say they’re willing to relocate for a job. While higher pay is (and probably always will be) the top driver, 43 percent say they want better working conditions, and 31 percent want more responsibility. There’s no better example of how extrinsic and intrinsic motivation feed into a company’s culture.