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To Retain Talent, Don't Just Focus on Salary

The fact that today's job market is loaded with openings poses a challenge for employers: It becomes more difficult to retain talent when outside opportunities abound. If your company is looking to improve on the employee retention front, you may be inclined to reexamine your compensation strategy and work on sinking more resources into employee salaries. But a new CareerBuilder survey indicates that you may be better off equally focusing your efforts elsewhere.

Salary is only one piece of the puzzle

These days, a respectable salary only goes so far when it comes to retaining or attracting talent. In fact, other than salary, workplace benefits and commute time are the most important factors workers consider when applying to jobs.

Man sitting at desk with computer, smiling
Man sitting at desk with computer, smiling

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

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Employees today want extra perks, too. A good 42% say that half-day Fridays would entice them to stay with their current company or take a job with a new one. On-site fitness centers and award trips are additional perks employees are looking for.

Now as an employer, the challenge, of course, is that you're dealing with a limited set of resources and a potentially large number of employee demands. But one thing you can do is focus on those benefits and conveniences that don't actually cost you anything. For example, by being more open to work-from-home arrangements, you can help your employees cut down their commute times and save money in the process. Similarly, if you're willing to be flexible by allowing your employees to set their own hours or compress their workweeks, you'll be helping on the convenience front without actually spending money.

Focusing on career advancement can help with employee retention as well. In fact, at present, only 32% of workers say they're satisfied with their opportunities for career progress, and just 37% say they're happy with the training and learning opportunities their current employers offer. All told, 58% of employees feel that their current employers don't offer enough training and skill-building opportunities to grow their careers.

If you're intent on retaining your workforce, make an effort to improve on the career path front. Again, this doesn't have to be a costly endeavor. You can enlist the help of managers to provide on-site training that can help workers improve not only their job-specific skills, but their soft skills as well. Another no- or low-cost option to consider is an internal mentoring program. By pairing newer employees up with seasoned ones, you'll create an instant, accessible learning opportunity for those motivated to move their careers forward.

When you think about the reasons why employees tend to jump ship, it's easy to land on salary as a motivating factor. But that's not the only thing to think about. Employees today clearly expect the whole package from the companies they work for, and that includes solid benefits, certain conveniences, and the opportunity to keep growing professionally. If you focus on these important aspects of retention as well as compensation, you may be more likely to keep your most valued employees on board.

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