We all know we are operating a competitive job market. One of the most frequent questions we get is how to both attract and retain top talent. Of course, salary is always a big factor, but there are also intangibles that go a long way towards making employees stay and perform.
With a database of thousands of potential executive candidates, we occasionally like to glean some anonymous intelligence that we can share with our valued clients and partners. And so last week, we went to our database to ask: what non-compensation amenities most influence your satisfaction at work.
We asked about the following items (in this order):
- eco friendly development strategy
- free, catered lunches
- free development courses
- work from home option
- 4 day week
- unlimited vacation time
- on site gym
- paid time off for volunteering
What we found can be used by anyone who wants to make sure that their company is attractive to talent.
Here are the top contenders:
#1: work from home option
Home is where the heart is, at least as far as employees’ job satisfaction goes. Presented with a list of plush on-site amenities including fitness and free lunches, our candidate pool ranked “work from home” as number one. This fell in line with an overall trend in our poll toward job flexibility.
#2: four day week
The 4 day week has been tried by a few companies with a lot of success, so in designing this poll, we thought that it might be the number 1 choice. We were somewhat surprised then, to find it coming in slightly behind the work-from-home option. Still the job flexibility options, sitting in position one and two, still dominate in our survey.
#3: free development courses
Our candidate pool turned out to be an ambitious lot, putting free development courses at number 3 on the list. This may be a factor of our somewhat self-selected group, but it serves as an important reminder that job satisfaction is often driven by how much a company is willing to invest into an employee.
#4: unlimited vacation time
Americans have become somewhat famous for both stingy vacation policies vis-à-vis Europe, and also an overall reluctance for workers to actually take vacation time.
But in keeping with an overall trend toward employees prizing flexibility, unlimited vacation time achieved a strong rank on our list. In companies that institute this policy, the idea is that the employee can be trusted to make the best decisions about vacation in consultant with his or her team and with consideration for their overall workload and deadlines. The downside? In some companies where this has been tried, some employees actually take less vacation, because there is not urgency to “use it or lose it.”
#5: eco friendly development strategy
Number 5 on our list was a bit of an eye-opener. It seems that workers, and especially younger workers, want to know that the companies they work for have a cognizance of the environment and take steps to minimize their footprint, whether that’s through on-site programs or more strategic aims. The popularity of this item also highlights that some job perks do not accrue directly to the employee and are more a function of the company’s overall philosophy.
#6: free, catered lunches
Free catered lunched came in sixth on our list, perhaps reflecting fatigue with the abundance of free snacks that have been touted by startups and coworking spaces. The low rank of free lunch shows that it takes more than tasty food to keep employees happy, a good reminder to keep a focus on the more big-picture items.
#7: on site gym
While hot for a long time, on-site gyms ranked pretty low on our list. Perhaps employees are happy to choose their own fitness regimen, or maybe that trend is fading out.
#8: paid time off for volunteering
While “eco friendly development strategy” performed well, showing us that employees care about values-driven companies, paid time off for volunteering was not such a strong contender.
How to use this insight
The best way to use this insight is to consider the policies you have in place and whether trying something new, such as a more flexible work environment, could affect your employees’ job satisfaction. You can expect efforts you make with your existing employees to, in turn, affect the way job candidates see the attractiveness of your company to work in.
While salary will always be king, use this information to look at the total picture and how the perks you provide contribute to overall job satisfaction.
How we can help
At ACCUR Recruiting Services, we frequently consult on how to set a strategic salary range. To do this, we use our years of knowledge of the executive placement market, along with a network of individuals knowledgeable about the local market. We know that this process is challenging and that’s why we’ve developed a FREE assessment. Take it now for customized guidance on setting the right range for your position.