As the Great Resignation and the War for Talent rage on, wages remain the primary focus of recruiters and organizations.  While it is worth celebrating that pay is increasing at its fastest pace in decades, the sad reality is that rising prices and our consumer economy already know how to spend those extra dollars.

Hiring bonuses and increased wages may be necessary to get candidates’ attention, but hiring based on salary leads to the logical question, “What happens when someone else offers a little bit more?”

The unfortunate truth is that most organizations do not have an answer for this question, or for the more important question: “What do people really want?”

The overwhelming answer is pretty simple: people want to feel like their time at work is not just benefitting their employer, but that it is helping them make progress in their lives as well.  Just look at some of the most popular benefits and perks:

  • Flexible schedule
  • Financial assistance
  • Clear growth opportunities
  • Conscious practices (shared values)

Employees are even asking their organizations to reconsider how they think about productivity.  The message is clear: people want their employers to focus on outcomes instead of just outputs.

The same goes for compensation.  If wages are the only reason someone picked your company, what will keep them there?  People want their organizations to connect the dots between their time at work and how that will lead to progress in their lives.  Rather than just offering more, it is incumbent on today’s employers to establish systems and an environment where their people have access to the progress that is most important to them.

If your organization is empowering and actualizing your success as you define it, why would you leave?  If your employer helps you overcome obstacles, reach your goals, and live out your core values, will you even be looking at the competition’s wage scale?

It is past time to turn the focus from “what more can we offer?” to “how can we create the outcomes our people want?”  There is an opportunity to leverage dollars for both employer and employee through innovative systems, benefits, and perks that people cannot access on their own and that create more direct lines to peoples’ most wanted goals.

That process starts with understanding what your employees want individually and as a group.  Once that is clear, there are hundreds of thousands of wellness, financial, and personal development benefits that demonstrate that their employer is listening, caring, and doing something about their personal needs.  And that is the organization for whom people want to work.