[We’re pleased to welcome authors Anaïs Thibault Landry of ESG UQAM,
Allan Schweyer of the Incentive Research Foundation, and Ashley Whillans of Harvard Business School. They recently published an article in Compensation & Benefits Review entitled “Winning the War for Talent: Modern Motivational Methods for Attracting and Retaining Employees,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the motivation and impact of this research:]
Many companies remain structured – both in their organization and mindset – to address last century’s challenges. But nothing has changed more dramatically in recent decades than work and peoples’ attitudes toward it. The complexity of business combined with an inexorable need to innovate, require increasingly more sophisticated and nuanced approaches to attracting, engaging, and retaining talent. This research builds on past work of ours and many others, exploring the various ways non-financial benefits and rewards nurture stronger employer-employee relationships and better outcomes – both for the individual and the organization.
Like many today, we’re motivated to help solve the enormous challenges organizations face in an economy with almost zero unemployment among skilled workers, combined with stubbornly low employee engagement levels. We’ve been consistently surprised at the effects of certain “softer” rewards of work, especially those that convey a sense of caring. For example, when employers describe their generous leave policies in job descriptions, they attract many more candidates than firms that pay significantly more. Based only on the job description, candidates report they believe the employer cares more about their employees – and that’s worth more to them than extra money.
We think these findings are the most important and innovative of our research. For employers it means they now operate in a world where top talent is looking for more out of work than just a handsome paycheck. It means they should re-visit their approach to benefits and rewards by emphasizing flexible work, inclusion, purpose, autonomy and non-financial gifts that convey appreciation.
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