It is true that hiring and keeping the best staff is essential for businesses to prosper in today’s climate. The competition for excellent employees from larger businesses with more funds presents a particular challenge for small businesses and charity groups.
Moreover, employers may wonder what it would take for their best achievers to quit for a greater income. And, how important is money?
This week on Let’s Talk, our experts talk about the effect of pay on employee retention and whether or not providing better pay actually helps employees stay on the job.
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Robert Wickham, Vice President & COO of APJ, Tableau
“COVID-19 has changed society forever, and the modern workplace is no exception. The traditional paycheque is no longer considered an equal exchange for employment; today, employees are looking to their employers to provide meaningful experiences that match their interests and needs.
“Training and upskilling across all departments have been identified as a key driver of talent retention according to a recent Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by Tableau. By training all employees in data skills, businesses benefit from a cultural shift that data enables – empowering employees to understand their work better and ultimately feel more fulfilled in their role. In turn, this can positively impact how employees interact with customers, stakeholders, and each other.
“The automation of repetitive tasks also allows employees to focus on more high-value work that can pull the brakes on The Great Resignation.”
Christa Quarles, CEO, Corel Corporation
“For so many of us, the fundamental nature of work has changed, and the genie is not going back into the bottle. Many people are asking themselves what they’re looking for from their careers, and in this new world, employee retention should be on every leader’s mind.
“The old tricks of recruiting and holding onto employees don’t work anymore. Great culture isn’t about free lunches or foosball tables. And while pay is always important, it isn’t the full picture. In this new era of work, authenticity is not only championed but expected. Company values are not posters on the wall but rather practices that break down walls and invite people in. In a world where people want more control over their own personal productivity practices, candidates pick companies that value flexibility while giving them a sense of true purpose, a path with direction and connection, and of course, pay that communicates their value.”
Dave Patnaik, Head of Asia Pacific & Japan, Forescout
“The past two years have driven major changes in priorities for employees, with many taking the opportunity to re-evaluate what matters to them. At the core of this shift was a demand for flexibility to work from any location and a desire for an overall improved employee experience (EX). However, whilst offering flexible work arrangements is an important step in improving EX and retaining staff, it cannot come at the expense of cybersecurity.
“In the hybrid environment, maintaining visibility across devices and the employees that use them is one of the biggest challenges for IT staff and managers. The Australian workforce now sees 36% of workers using personal devices to access corporate data and a greater 49% connecting IoT devices to their home networks. As a result, every new device compounds a wider attack surface for cybercriminals to exploit.
“Businesses need to ensure their employees’ digital assets and information are secure from wherever they work to establish a culture of trust and retain staff. If a data breach or cyber-attack were to happen, it can damage brand reputation and employee sentiment, especially if personal data is leaked or employees feel like their organisation hasn’t sufficiently protected them. Trust should always be central to EX, and failure to protect your team from cyber-attacks is one of the quickest ways to break it.”
Rebecca Moulynox, Head of HR ANZ & SEA, UKG
“While remuneration is important, it doesn’t buy engagement, nor will it deter people from leaving if they are unhappy in their job. After nearly two years of remote and hybrid work, employees are rethinking the place their career has in their lives. Gone are the days when businesses could rely on perks like free lunches and ping pong tables to attract and retain talent. For many employees, maintaining a healthy work/life balance in an encouraging and supportive workplace culture is more of a reason to stay than superficial or monetary incentives.
“While businesses need to ensure they’re paying workers in line with the market, they should focus on improving business culture for long-term loyalty. When it comes to engagement, employees are affected most by the team around them, the people they connect with, their manager, and whether they feel the work they are doing is valuable and has an impact. An organisation that instils trust and respect in their employees and values their contributions will retain their workforce, even if another company is paying more money. At the end of the day, offering remuneration in exchange for loyalty doesn’t work, but making employees feel valued does.”
Emma Aldous, Senior People Manager, monday.com
“Attracting and retaining talent involves a diverse array of initiatives, including competitive remuneration. Companies simply can’t avoid offering strong salaries to potential and existing workers in today’s landscape, but higher pay packages aren’t enough to combat employees leaving for greener pastures. Businesses need to balance strong remuneration with a variety of other initiatives to retain staff and improve overall satisfaction. At monday.com, we believe leaders should focus more on building a positive culture underpinned by employee well-being.
“Many of our initiatives reflect feedback from employees around flexibility at work, including extended parental leave and a more holistic offering for employee wellness. By taking a ‘people-centric’ approach, we can ensure employees are involved in the design and implementation of policies and frameworks that recognise their workplace needs beyond salary.
“Our objective is to represent workers as an entire human being; ensuring their needs are met to cultivate a culture of engagement, safety and resilience.”
Charlie Ferguson, General Manager Asia-Pacific, Globalization Partners
The Great Resignation has certainly impacted Australia, but increasing wages is only one means of addressing the challenges this shift presents. While enticing employees back with attractive remuneration is an option, the very fact that many employees have decided to find different career paths, or chosen to seek their income from other methods, suggests that money alone is not the driving issue.
“Offering employees the freedom and flexibility they desire will be paramount in securing their services. Moving away from the traditional nine-to-five job structure in a central office location, and offering employees the freedom to work from literally anywhere shape as one of the biggest forces for change in the job market, and indeed the economy.
“Using an Employer of Record (EOR) model via a global employment platform allows a company to hire talent in any jurisdiction, with all local laws and compliance adhered to. This, in turn allows employees the freedom of working from home or relocating to somewhere more attractive to them.
“The world has changed forever, and evolving with global employment trends is key for
employers to stay relevant and competitive for talent retention.”
Libby Shade, Senior Human Resources Manager, SAS
“Whilst remuneration remains a top factor for employees, organisations need to consider the broader employee experience beyond remuneration for a sustainable approach to continue engaging and attracting talent. Studies are showing employees are increasingly valuing flexibility in where, when and how they work almost as much as remuneration. Additionally, career progression and development opportunities remain a top priority for employees. For some businesses, this may mean offering hybrid work and for others it could mean a focus on career progression by providing internal training and upskilling opportunities – or a combination of both. We’re fortunate at SAS to be able to provide flexibility to our employees by having a culture of trust and as a global organisation we have many career progression opportunities locally and aboard. It’s important to have these options as part of our employee experience as we’re faced with one of the most competitive job markets the nation has seen.”
Bill Zeng, Senior Director APAC, Poly
“The skills shortage and the war on talent has left many businesses competing for staff. And although better remuneration will always play a key role, offering flexible working conditions goes a long way when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.
“Offering flexibility not only improves retention, but it also offers employees better experiences, increasing engagement and work satisfaction. In addition to implementing robust, flexible work policies, businesses must ensure that employees are equipped with the right tools and support solutions to navigate the challenges of hybrid work, ensuring all workers have equality of experience, no matter where they’re working from. This means rethinking traditional systems and processes and shifting from old-school styles of management.
“Investing in company culture by boosting employee morale and promoting work-life balance will also help you avoid losing valuable talent, attract the best people and gain competitive advantage.”
Danielle Dobson, Founder, Code Conversations
“The HR leaders I speak to each month tell me that remuneration isn’t everything, and raising salaries isn’t always possible or sustainable. For some people, a pay increase isn’t their main motivator to stay in a job.
“The most important thing is to treat every employee as an individual. To ask, rather than assume, what they’d find valuable and attractive in their role. Some employees value things like flexibility, the promise of career progression, opportunities to upskill, or tailoring their role so it’s more aligned with their personal values, as more important than a higher pay cheque.”
Penelope Feros, APAC Vice President, Ivanti
“With the Great Resignation upon us, companies are fast implementing strategies to retain and attract talent. While better remuneration is often first to mind, prioritising the digital employee experience is much more important, especially with the shift towards hybrid work.
“A recent survey by Ivanti discovered that one in five Australians have considered quitting their current job due to frustrations around the work-provided technology they use.
“While savvy business leaders recognise employees’ desire for flexibility in terms of where they work, there is a delicate balance between security and flexibility. Businesses need to implement cybersecurity solutions that make it easy to discover, manage, secure and service devices, wherever they are, whilst not hindering productivity.
“Employee satisfaction in the hybrid workplace is key to retaining talent amidst the Great Resignation, so it’s crucial for businesses and leaders to start prioritising the digital employee experience.”
Anoop Dhankhar, Regional Vice President ANZ, MongoDB
“The Great Resignation is proving to be a big issue affecting technology professionals. This creates extra pressure for Australian organisations who are already struggling with tech skills scarcity, and has a direct impact on their ability to innovate.
“At MongoDB we work with thousands of developers, engineers and tech professionals across Australia. What we hear is that there are many factors that don’t get enough attention during recruitment conversations which contribute to creating a happier work environment for tech professionals:
- Changing the company’s mindset around tech professionals’ role within the organisation – don’t treat them like ‘the IT guys in the back room’. Too many times we hear developers say they’re not considered as important: make sure to recognise their contribution.
- Involve them in the broader innovation strategy and give them time with the leadership team – their input needs to be valued as much as the ones from other parts of the business.
- Provide continuous upskilling – this is highly valued by tech professionals, especially in a market where tech skills are scarce yet continuously evolving.
- Make their life easier by investing in developer-friendly technology tools. Nothing worse for a developer than wasting their time with outdated, unnecessarily complex tech.”
Danny Lessem, CEO, ELMO software
“Understanding employees’ wants and needs is incredibly valuable when navigating through the Great Resignation. Employees now value a wider range of workplace benefits, beyond purely salary, and businesses that offer a varied and holistic range of benefits will be in a better position to compete for talent.
“Of course, salary will always hold weight for employees considering a new role. According to ELMO’s recent Q2 Employee Sentiment Index, remuneration continues to rank first for employee priorities. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the only aspect businesses should focus on to retain staff.
“Flexible or remote working ranked second in the list of priorities for jobseekers, and in fact, came in top for Gen Z respondents. So it’s clear that a new standard of work-life balance is the expectation for jobseekers, and it’s a benefit that many employers can leverage to compete for talent. For businesses with employees who cannot work from home, flexibility might come in the form of working hours or a compressed work week.
“Beyond flexibility, supportive policies, a robust rewards and recognition program, and career pathways are other non-monetary benefits that can be the difference between whether employees stay or go. Organisations should take a targeted approach by using surveying technology to understand what their employees value most. While some employees might jump ship for a better salary, a well-rounded benefits and compensation package is likely to retain top talent in the long-run.”
Dr Crissa Sumner, EX Solution Strategist ANZ, Qualtrics
“No – the most important step to increasing employee retention is being able to truly understand what it is your employees want, need, and expect to be successful, and then delivering them to create a positive employee experience. In fact, multiple Qualtrics studies reveal remuneration is not the most important factor in people’s decisions, with many respondents also saying they’d be willing to take a paycut for an employee experience aligned to their needs.
“This isn’t to discount the impact of remuneration entirely – of course it is one of many considerations, and for some people it will be a bigger factor than others. However, we are increasingly seeing people choose to work for organisations that truly understand their needs. For example, in the Qualtrics 2022 EX Trends report, we found the biggest drivers of retention in Australia are creating a culture of belonging, prioritising employee wellbeing, and giving people opportunities to learn and grow.”
Brian Donn, Managing Director ANZ, Ceridian
“The rules have changed in the competition for talent, and the stakes are higher than ever. According to Ceridian’s 2022 Pulse of Talent Report, 66 percent of Australian workers are a flight risk, with a third actively seeking a new job and another 36 percent open to a change if the right opportunity came up.
“Why are people considering a change in the first place? Data shows that flexibility now ranks second only to compensation in determining job satisfaction, with 76 percent of workers wanting flexibility in where they work, and 93 percent wanting flexibility in when they work. Despite this trend, less than half of business leaders are building flexibility into job roles/responsibilities to ensure they have a change-ready culture.
“This divide sends a clear message that return-to-work plans may not align with what employees want, which could negatively impact employers’ ability to recruit and retain talent. To keep pace with the competition, it’s crucial that organisations bridge the flexibility divide for the sake of culture and connection as well as retention. While pay will always be a motivator, often it’s a company’s culture and values that positively drive the overall employee experience.”
Sam Kothari, Head of Growth ANZ, Airwallex
“The talent challenge, whether attracting or retaining, often becomes a conversation about perks, bonuses and compensation. While this is important, particularly as the cost of living continues to rise, it isn’t the only thing people are looking for in an employer.
“As a people leader, you often get a sense when someone in your team is dissatisfied; well before they’ve made the decision to move on. It’s in this situation, I advocate for proactivity. Take the time to sit down with your employees, and understand what’s changed. Is the concern something you can help with, or is it systematic?
“I’ve found the root cause of dissatisfaction often lies outside pay alone. From there, you can put a plan in place to improve the employee experience, whether that be providing advice, changing their role/environment/team, or perhaps, it’s time to consider parting ways. By being proactive in your management style, you can positively impact current employees, while also creating a culture new employees want to join.”
Nadine O’Regan, General Manager, TQSolutions
“At the start of the pandemic I wrote a post on LinkedIn: ‘To all employers. How you treat your people right now will impact your ability to attract and retain people for many years to come’.
“Things seem to be playing out this way. People have seen colleagues poorly treated over the past two years and many have left. The people who stayed with these employers are now burnt out and planning to leave. PwC research shows almost 38% of workers are planning their exit within 12 months.
“Remuneration is one piece of the retention puzzle. Some of the other key pieces are:
- Building leadership capability: a bad manager is a higher predictor of attrition than remuneration.
- Mobility: ensure people know where to look for internal opportunities and make it easy to apply.
- Humanise work: Know what your people need to be happy and productive humans at work and allow them to work flexibly.
- Employee Value Proposition: one broad brush EVP is insufficient. Hyper-personalised individual value propositions is the way forward.
- Remunerate fairly: But building a great place to work and paying fairly is a much better strategy when it comes to attraction and retention.”
David Piggott, Managing Director ANZ, Jabra
“Flexibility is top of mind for most employees after several years of remote and hybrid work. And with businesses chomping at the bid for talent, business leaders need to amplify the employee experience beyond better remuneration and invoke productivity, comfort, and collaboration to appeal to talent in the recruitment process.
“Jabra research reveals the hybrid work model enables businesses to boost employee productivity and business competitiveness, but only if they understand how to navigate the balance between physical spaces and collaborative technology. Collaborative technology enables employees to connect with colleagues from wherever we work best and allows employees to never have to compromise their productivity for the sake of collaboration. As such, business leaders need to prioritise equipping their teams with collaborative technologies for their workspaces that will enable greater employee experiences.”
Matt Seadon, APAC General Manager, Achievers
“The answer is both yes and no. Obviously the package you’re offering for a role needs to be competitive, and in today’s inflationary climate, never more so. Cost of living pressures are hitting workers hard and, if you’re miles out of the market, you’re in trouble, Having said, money isn’t the only driving force.
“For many workers, engagement and a sense of purpose can be every bit as important as the exact number of dollars in their weekly or fortnightly pay packet. Post-Covid, these factors are arguably more important than they used to be. With scores of employees still working from home, or in hybrid arrangements, many of the benefits and perks organisations used to offer – think meals, car parking and gym memberships, for example – have gone out the window. In the absence of a strong sense of belonging, a feeling that they’re connected with their colleagues and peers around the country, it’s pretty easy for people to decide to look for a change of scene.”
Andy Mellor, regional VP of ANZ, Kofax
“With record labour shortages across Australia and the globe, it’s now a priority for employers to focus on how to improve employee satisfaction. This means shifting the spotlight to improving staff wellbeing, easing workloads, and allowing staff to spend time on the tasks they enjoy – and look to alternate solutions to better support them. AI-driven automation can alleviate the day-to-day manual tasks and functions employees perform and identify the monotonous tasks employees find unsatisfying and suggest ways to automate them.
“The feeling of burnout has been cited as one of the biggest contributing factors to the Great Resignation, where employees feel overworked with little reward. As an employer, creating an environment that allows your staff to focus on important and exciting tasks, rather than the repetitive and monotonous ones, provides a competitive advantage. By automating time-consuming and tedious workflows, employees are more likely to feel more engaged in their role, leading to higher performance and greater retention.”
Jean Scott, People and Culture Manager, Somerville
“The offer of better remuneration is certainly one way of attracting and retaining staff, but it is by no means the only way. Being a work environment that offers flexibility in both work hours and locations is also something many people welcome, now that they have experienced firsthand the benefits that can flow from being able to work from home.
“Companies should also consider increasing the support they provide for professional development. The cost of training courses could be covered and staff offered time off during the working week to complete their studies. Staff are also more likely to remain loyal to an organisation if they feel that their efforts are being recognised. This could be formal acknowledgement of meeting goal targets or solving problems for clients.
“Finally, it’s also important to arrange regular social and team-building events. These help to grow an organisation’s culture and help people to feel they are part of a team.”
Roxanne Calder, Founder and Managing director, EST10
“It is a complex workplace issue. Our global skills shortage powers the ‘great resignation’, giving airtime to desires that were always present, just not heard before. Offering a better remuneration answers part of the equation and, if offered in isolation, may only be a band-aid. For long-term engagement, we should cover all areas, including a sense of purpose, security, flexibility, psychological safety etc. The skills shortage has been touted as the war for talent for a reason. The playing field is combative and fierce. It is a guarantee your staff will be headhunted, no matter the role or level, from the mailroom to CEO. So, as the starting point, if your employees are not being paid at market or barely sitting on par, then yes, do consider addressing remuneration. Otherwise, you may be facing the cost of backfilling the position at the higher salary level and the prolonged cost of an empty seat. Offering a better remuneration purely to secure employees may backfire. Does this set up future behavioural expectations from our workforce, and if the economy doesn’t recover quickly enough, such a trend isn’t sustainable. And of course, we have the other side of the equation, the ‘Great Regret’, and ‘Boomerang employee!’.”
Balder Tol, General Manager Australia and South East Asia, WeWork
“Remuneration is important but it’s not the be-all, end-all. Flexible work has become the non-negotiable for many Aussies who value its benefits and are seeking out companies offering flex work arrangements, even sacrificing pay rises to do so. In fact, almost 10% of onsite workers have changed their jobs since the pandemic began because their company did not provide enough flexibility.
“Workplace expectations have changed significantly and having a robust hybrid work strategy is critical to retain and attract talent. Overwhelmingly, workers adopting a hybrid model are looking to a shared office as a place to meet, connect and collaborate in-person when they need. Despite the ability to WFH a few days a week, the office remains a vital part of the workplace ecosystem. Beyond offering better remuneration, organisations should invest in providing talent access to great quality, highly flexible workspaces that people choose to make the commute.”
Lisl Pietersz, Transition & communication coach, University of Sydney
“As a careers transition and communication coach, I can confidently say that offering better remuneration is not the antidote to the Great Resignation. Instead, organisations need to offer a meaningful vision or purpose beyond the product or service they market, and one that also takes a stand on society’s most pressing concerns.
“Organisations must connect the work employees do with a bigger purpose, as this creates meaning, stimulates passion, and a sense of belonging. Every employee has a purpose, and they need to be able to connect it to what your organisation does and the bigger purpose it serves.
“In my coaching practice, which includes current employees or ones who will be on the job market soon, a key theme is a desire to see organisations demonstrate how their purpose also addresses society’s most pressing concerns such as equality, sustainability, poverty, and education. In general, coachees tell me they want their place of work to clearly demonstrate how it creates value for their stakeholders and society in a post-pandemic world.
“No doubt, this will require organisations to tweak their business strategies and change leadership mindsets and behaviours to meet the above feedback. For example, could team leaders have a KPI to measure how they helped to create society driven teams? High belonging teams? Food for thought.”
Damien Andreasen, Regional Head, APAC, HiBob
“After two years of disruption, the needs of employees have evolved. Remuneration should always be commensurate with market rates, but potential and current employees are looking beyond compensation, placing greater emphasis on culture, perks, flexibility, and work-life balance. To retain and attract talent, businesses must consider more than remuneration.
“In addition to ensuring pay parity, particularly between recent hires and employees with longer tenure, businesses should seek to broaden and improve their employee benefits package, such as healthcare benefits, to remain competitive — particularly as global companies continue entering the market.
“Understanding who you are as an organisation is imperative. This will help to ensure employees are aligned to the culture and values of your company. Your team is the best source of information. Leverage this by actively asking, listening, and actioning their feedback about what’s working and what can be improved within the business and its benefits. Ultimately, employers of choice are different for each individual. Hone in on and promote your USPs and the right people will come.”
Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion ANZ, Deel
“Employee remuneration has been a hot topic in the wake of talent shortages, the great resignation and interest rate rises. But while pay is certainly important, workers are increasingly looking beyond remuneration when assessing a role.
“For example, we’ve seen the rise of the digital nomad – employees who want the flexibility to work from a beach one week and at home the next. This is backed by increased global hiring trends, with Deel’s H2 Global Hiring Report finding Australia is the APAC country with the most organisations hiring overseas remote workers. Furthermore, a recent Gartner survey revealed two in three respondents strongly agree that the pandemic has made them rethink the place work should have in their life and their values outside of work.
“The bottom line is that businesses should be cognizant of shifting employee expectations and adapt accordingly by offering flexibility, autonomy and other perks beyond remuneration that will support retention.”
Kath Greenhough, Vice President Asia Pacific, Skillsoft
“The driving force behind people leaving their jobs as part of the Great Resignation is not financial compensation, so better remuneration cannot be the answer. There is no doubt the huge shift to remote work in the pandemic had a profound impact on how people think about when and where they want to work. According to Skillsoft’s survey of workers across Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, 89 percent wanted at least one COVID-19 practice adopted permanently in their day-to-day lives. On average, just 11 percent of respondents were happy to return to how things were. The trouble is, once everything started to reopen, businesses expected employees to jump back on the 9-5 bandwagon, picking up where they left off, pre-COVID. Employees are reacting to that expectation, deciding they’d rather ditch the commute and daily office grind.
“According to Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, for the third consecutive year, respondents that switched employers within the past year cited a lack of growth and development opportunities as their top reason for doing so, taking precedence over better compensation and work/life balance. In order to attract the best talent, high-performing organisations treat employee satisfaction as a business objective and, as a consequence, link their employees’ development and career progression to business results. Employees pursuing their passions and demanding better working conditions as a result of the pandemic is a positive change for employees and employers alike. People want to work but they want to do it in a way that suits them, challenges them and creates opportunities. Act now and you can attract and retain the best talent, despite the Great Resignation, but you’ll need to do it by offering better development opportunities, not better remuneration.”
Renata Sguario, Founder and CEO, Maxme
“Humans are motivated by purpose, autonomy and mastery. Remuneration is absolutely a factor, because while pay is not a motivator, if you are not being paid what you think you are worth, that is a huge demotivator. But it only comprises part of the answer.
“Employees today expect a compelling offer from employers. This includes the ability to work flexibly, be supported with wellbeing and work-life balance, and an investment in career development and upskilling programs. These all create part of the employee experience. Gen Z and Millennials, in particular, have a heightened sense of social responsibility and want to align with organisations that share their values.
“Throwing more money at people doesn’t solve it sustainably because it causes unmanageable cost pressures and ultimately leads to job losses in the long term. Employers need to pay people fairly and make sure they offer other motivating benefits such as hybrid and flexible work, personal development and most importantly a psychologically safe workplace culture where people feel they can be authentic, that they belong, where they do meaningful work and are valued.”
Cathy Doyle, Chief People Experience Officer, Symbio
“Adopting a monetised approach over a humanised one may help plug short-term gaps left by the Great Resignation, but it will stunt organisational growth in the long run. While financial recognition has its place, relying solely on extrinsic incentives to motivate employees will not create a healthy, sustainable culture where employees are inspired to work for and succeed in an organisation long term.
“At Symbio our focus is not just on retention, but retention for purpose – actively supporting people who want to leave a legacy that will help our organisation grow. Creating an environment where employees are given the flexibility and the space to make a difference in their work and communities, and prioritising individual learning and development are central to achieving this. In my experience, tapping into people’s hearts is more powerful than tapping into people’s heads, and while money alone may motivate some people to stick around, we must ask ourselves whether they are the right people.”
Dr Craig West, Founder, Succession Plus
“Strategies such as pay increases and stay bonuses can have a real cost to profitability and in the current economic climate can’t necessarily be passed on to customers. In my experience, a formal alternative to a cash-based salary increase can be a much better way for businesses to attract the right candidates and retain essential employees long-term. This can be done through offering employees the opportunity to own equity in the business through an employee share ownership plan (ESOP). For employees, this can have a huge impact on their ability to create wealth as it gives them access to potential dividend payments and growing capital value. For the business, it can help create value by aligning employees’ personal financial goals with that of the business, encouraging them to think like owners and incentivising them to stay longer-term. Unlike bonus schemes and commissions, which have a place but are short-term, ESOPs aim to maximise the value of the business over the long term by creating a team that is single-minded about working towards and sharing the rewards of a successful and profitable business.”
Jeremy Braidish, Chief People Officer, Cyara
“Our research and experience suggest the notion of a “Great Resignation” is a bit headliney. Resignations over the last 12 months have been notable, but many aren’t leaving the workforce, they’re just reshuffling at a slightly higher rate than previous years. So, we’ve been able to fill our roles with awesome talent at a time-to-hire below 60 days.
“Certainly, people are looking for better pay in their jobs, however this was happening well before the pandemic. For us, the goal is to ensure our employees are fairly compensated within market so we can focus our time on all the other things that keep them happy, engaged and doing their best work.
“By reaching out to our employees, we’ve come to better understand the sentiment of our workforce and identify potential gaps before they start to take hold. This has enabled us to launch programmes, such as career development planning and learning stipends, which can make a long-term difference.”
Karla Porter, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, CloudBees
“Greater remuneration may be the answer to retention for one employee, but incentivising loyalty, embracing more flexibility, or a culture of rewards and recognition, may be the answer for another. There is no one size fits all model for employee retention. That’s why it’s important to check the pulse of your workforce on a regular basis by providing significant opportunities for individual employee feedback, formal and informal. In addition, consider the last time you conducted a compensation and benefits review to ensure you are competitive within your industry, company size, and geographic region. In the current business climate, if it’s been more than three years, it’s definitely time to relook at it.”
Catherine Mapusua, Head of Lending, WLTH
“Times have changed, and businesses need to accept a new reality and adapt to survive. Employees have different priorities and are leaving to discover new opportunities at the workplace. This makes hiring and retaining workers a challenge for businesses everywhere. It’s a candidate’s market, and companies must respond by creatively thinking about how we can successfully recruit and continue to retain talent.
“Searching and applying for a new job has never been easier, and more companies are enticing potential talents with competitive compensation packages. It won’t be enough to just offer better pay, and more factors should be considered to significantly improve employee value proposition [EVP]. This includes flexible work schedules, education benefits, extensive commitments to well-being, and environmental causes.”
Lisa Virgo, Chief People Officer, Tic:Toc
“I believe offering better remuneration as a response to talent shortages is a short-term response to a more complex and far reaching challenge. Using remuneration as the only lever to attract and retain great talent is a race to the bottom.
“I recommend every organisation – big and small – establish remuneration principles aligned to their company values and good governance. Use them as the framework to make decisions about remuneration as they will keep decision making true, even under pressure.
“Keep informed of the market. Be as ‘in the market’ as you can to be aware of movements, trends, pressures and how these may impact your ability to attract and retain – information is everything.
“It is also important not to forget being commercially responsible. Internal fairness (e.g gender pay gaps) and the unintended consequences of remuneration decisions.
“Consider your broader Employee Value Proposition, career development opportunities and your unique offering to the market. People want to contribute and be valued. In my view, the alignment of people’s efforts to company success has a huge impact on building a successful culture, your scalable asset.”
Sally Wallace, Senior People Operations Manager, Rome2rio
“In this tight labour market, many companies have used higher salaries to entice employees, but this strategy has many problems, and long term, it is unsustainable. Remuneration continues to be crucial for employees, and companies need to remain competitive, but this doesn’t mean always offering a higher salary to out bid a fluctuating market. The money battle has a limit and risks for both companies and candidates. The reason to work together has to go beyond the paycheck.
“The Great Resignation has shown people many times value happiness and wellbeing, time with family and flexibility more than money. Work-life balance has become more critical, and job seekers are looking for employers to give them a choice to work from home and more flexible working hours. Offering this flexibility has become the standard, and many people are willing even to take a paycut for that. But that should not have to be the case.
“Beyond flexible working arrangements and remuneration there is a lot that can be done to be a competitive employer. Additional leave, training and development, purposeful and engaging work, autonomous and collaborative working, space for social interactions are other examples of what businesses can do beyond remuneration to become employers of choice. Candidates also expect the company to have a great culture and values that inspire them. After all, we spend much of our time at work. Recruitment could demonstrate this by having candidates meet team members and in chemistry sessions.
“If the Great Resignation has taught us anything, it is that money can talk, but its voice is shrinking beneath the overarching desire to live more meaningful and balanced lives.”
Rob Bright, CEO and Founder, Cloud Assess
“The employment landscape has changed dramatically since the pandemic and so have staff expectations. Countless surveys confirm that many employees are prioritising things like career development over money. According to a Gallup survey, 61% of workers described the opportunity to take part in an upskilling program as “extremely” or “very” important when deciding to remain in their current job. Employers can adapt quickly by adopting fit-for-purpose training technology that enables efficient and effective learning and employee engagement.
“Cloud Assess are helping their clients to do just this. Businesses that employ deskless workers, who make up around 80% of the workforce in professions such as construction, logistics and hospitality, and training providers who manage apprentices, are reaping the benefits. They enjoy the flexibility to manage training activities both online and face-to-face, enabling deep learning through planned exposure to practical activities over a defined learning journey, which engages employees to do a better job. The proof is in the research which shows that companies committed to investing in training, not only drive better business outcomes like safety or quality, but also retain their staff for nearly twice as long as those that don’t develop their internal talent pipeline.”
Darin Fox, Chief Research Officer and Principal Consultant, Expertunity
“The latest Australian stats reveal 22% of professionals changed jobs in the year to February 2022. At the same time, demand for technical roles is projected to grow 12.9% over five years, more than twice that of other professional roles. Facing a high turnover rate and a shortage of skilled talent, organisations must have a “Great Retention Strategy” to keep their best and brightest.
“A Gallup report found nine out of ten US employees who’ve been recruited weren’t actively looking for a new job. Better remuneration is one of the ways these employees could be enticed away or persuaded to stay. However, unless they feel valued and have a clear development pathway in their organisation, the grass will always be greener.
“Looking at technical subject matter experts – those with the most potential to innovate, disrupt, and create new value – our research shows many feel undervalued. They feel the impact and potential of their work is not recognised, they lack a voice in their organisation, and they don’t benefit from standard development and remuneration policies designed for people leaders. Providing the right opportunities for technical experts is critical to flipping the “Great Resignation” on its head and ensuring the ‘Great Retention’.”
Eric Fan, CEO and Co-Founder, LUMOS
“Offering payrises to combat the Great Resignation is short-sighted because it’s ignoring what caused this shift in the first place, i.e burn out, lack of purpose, not enough time spent with loved ones, no flexibility, etc. Overall, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to reflect and re-assess our priorities.
“Organisations need to go back to the drawing board and review their employee value proposition to make sure it is up to date and relevant to what people are looking for today. It is vital for leaders to find ways to create a positive work environment in which employees not only feel inspired but also feel there is a way for them to live their life purpose through their work.
“Just like many consumers are increasingly choosing to spend their money with brands that reflect their personal values, people on the job market are also following the same trend. Organisations that harness the power of social impact are not only more likely to retain their employees but they also tend to have better results over those that purely focus on financial profits. By fostering a culture of giving, employers focus on delivering not only for their shareholders and customers but also for their employees, communities, and the environment.”
Ben Bars, CEO, We Are Unity
“Over the past 36 months, we’ve all been at home staring into a camera, contemplating whether we’re fulfilled in our lives and whether what we do for work is meaningful. This self-reflection en masse has had a significant impact on society and the economy, which in turn has forced corporate Australia to focus on purpose, to give clarity to why an organisation exists and why it’s meaningful to be contributing within it.
“While we’re seeing an influx of companies offering financial bonuses and high salaries to attract top talent, monetary offers won’t keep people engaged and fulfilled in their roles. Employers now must prove that they care about the wellbeing of their people and are genuinely concerned with their lives beyond the financial benefits they bring to the business. Smart employers have used this opportunity to make their value exchange purposeful and meaningful – to give people clarity on their purpose, a sense of belonging and an outlet for helping to enrich their lives.”
Dr Patrick Aouad, Co-Founder and CEO, [cu] health
“As a neurologist, it’s not immediately obvious why I can talk on this topic with authority, but since co-founding CU Health, Australia’s first virtual healthcare practice for businesses, I have met with hundreds of HR staff and culture leaders who have shared their thoughts with me.
“In Australia, it has become clear that, rather than there being a ‘great resignation’, there are other great things occurring with employees including: re-evaluation, reflection and reality checks.
“Employees across all industries are, more than ever, prioritising their personal values, wellbeing and non-work activities. So, “Is offering better remuneration the answer?” The answer is “no”. Employees are more inspired by good managers and good leadership. They prefer autonomy, empowerment and an optimistic work environment. They want leaders who are empathetic, and they want their roles and rewards structured around their values. This may include flexible working arrangements, progressive leave policies, health and wellbeing rewards and, most importantly, being provided with a sense of purpose and belonging within the organisation – emotionally and professionally. Money alone cannot fulfil a person – so why would it be different at work?”
Josh Goulburn, Co-Founder and COO, FoodBomb
“My personal belief is that this is more of a ‘Great Realignment’ than it is a ‘Great Resignation’. In this exponentially changing world, the conversation is vastly different right now to what it was in 2021, the first half of 2022 or even six weeks ago. We have a new challenge in front of us, job security. The narrative has changed, companies (big and small) all over the globe are shedding teams and people are now more concerned, and rightly so, about keeping their job.
“Until inflation is under control and interest rates settle, as an employee job security is everything, so finding the right employer is key. Aligning staff with workplaces who share the same values and work ethics is vital right now. Having a shared vision and passion for the work you and your staff do will bring personal satisfaction above and beyond renumeration.”
Victoria Mills, CEO, Hello Coach
“Offering more pay to workers to get them to stay in a job is like putting a bandaid over a broken leg. The Great Resignation is about more than money. Australian companies are currently being hit by a wave of professional fatigue. Employees are feeling disconnected and restless after COVID. In order to retain your staff you have to support them to re-ignite their engines.
“Make them remember why they love coming to work and what their purpose is! Coaching is a great way to help do that as you’re enabling your employees to see their role through a different lens. 70% of the people who come to our platform Hello Coach seeking help with job dissatisfaction find the problem is actually in their personal lives. If businesses can help in all areas of their employee’s wellbeing and see their staff as real people they’ll be able to foster a workplace that’s motivated and productive. People don’t generally leave an organisation when they feel cared for and supported. People also have different motivators and not everyone is more engaged with a monetary increase. A lot of common themes are greater work life balance and therefore are seeking employment where they can feel a more rounded human being.”
Juliet Robinson, Leadership and Communication Specialist, Big Goals
“The key to keeping our good people and attracting the people we want is connection and communication.
- Have a clear vision with relevant measures and help everyone in the team connect with it. Make sure they can see how what they want is linked to what the organisation is doing and where it is going.
- Communicate more than you used to
- Talk with your team about the challenges of achieving your goals, working as a team, hybrid working etc. Get to know your people so you know what motivates them.
- Ask them what works for the good of the team – let your team come up with and own the solutions.
- Give feedback – catch people doing the right thing but also make it ok to challenge unproductive behaviour.
- Be honest about your challenges
- Make it safe for people to try new things and make mistakes. If there is a culture of blame, people will stop innovating, challenging and growing.
- Celebrate successes – this is a powerful motivator when people see that you appreciate their work and their success.
“Connecting with your people in these ways will help you manage them through this turbulence.”
Narmie Thambipillay, Interview Trainer and Coach, CEO, Narmiet
“Better Remuneration is not the only answer to holding onto employees. Of course, it may help, but in reality companies should be looking at why employees are leaving them. Higher pay may be a great attraction to someone who is looking to join your company, but I believe that all or some of the below needs to go hand in hand with an increased pay (if that’s valid):
- Ensure that you are offering work flexibility – because Covid has changed how a lot of employees perceive the workplace.
- Ensure that you have good management in place – a good indication is that if one team has a lot of movement, then it may be time to have a look at the exit interviews to see what they are all saying.
- Ensure you are listening to what your employees want vs what you think that they want.”
Anjani Amriit, Conscious Leadership Expert
“The great resignation is alive and well. The national ‘quit’ rate reached 9.5% in February 2022, its highest level since 2012. It is expected to rise to 15% by the end of the year according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics. While some professionals are using this as leverage to negotiate higher salaries, offering more money is not the holy grail.
“Professionals have been pushed to the brink psychologically and mentally over the pandemic. The burn out rate in Australia is pushing 50%.
“With labour shortages at an all time high the balance of power has shifted to employees, who are now demanding more than just a pay cheque.
“The world changing events over the last two years have left us all searching for something more. Employees are increasingly demanding greater satisfaction, which encompasses a desire to find real meaning and purpose from their work.
“To stay ahead of the game it is vital for employers to cultivate new conscious cultures that meet these emerging psychological needs. Engaging employees in this process will foster a collective culture better suited to this new era of conscious business. When people feel involved, important and part of something bigger, their loyalty is guaranteed.”
Chris Dodds, Founder and Managing Director, Icon Agency
“Remuneration is important, however it’s only one factor employees look to when choosing an employer. Culture, capacity to learn and progress, hybrid work arrangements, and perks are all part of the mix.
“At Icon we’ve noticed a growing shift towards employees looking to move to more purposeful work – a commitment hard baked into our ethos. In fact, pretty much every new person we’ve interviewed over the last few months has mentioned a desire to work on projects that will have a positive impact on people, communities and the planet.
“We believe this attitudinal shift will continue to develop alongside remuneration factors – especially for younger team members who are rightly demanding change and work for good.”
Rachael Greaves, CEO and Co-Founder, Castlepoint Systems
“Yes, remuneration is part of it, particularly with the cost-of-living crisis. At Castlepoint, we review our salaries against market rates every six months and make increases to match. We currently budget for every employee to see at minimum 10% increase year on year, to ensure they are properly remunerated, in line with their constantly increasing skills and responsibilities, and can continue to meet their living costs. Every person is an essential person at Castlepoint. We want remuneration to be a true reflection of our appreciation. It also means we can find, and retain, great people. More than two thirds of our people have joined us through referral or outreach, which is a great sign that our team are happy and thriving.
“But it is only part of it – flexibility is equally important. We see employees leaving other organisations because they can’t schedule their work/life balance to how it suits them. We recognise that people have different lives and different ways of working, and the standard 9-5 doesn’t work for everyone around their family life, study, and other commitments. We already had a 100% flexible work culture pre-Covid, and it’s always one of the reasons people love working at Castlepoint.”
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