OUTLOOK — By Salim Al Riyami — I remember when I was a child, whenever I did something nice or achieved a small task, my father used to tell me “Oh… a Victory Day!” (Eid Al Nasr in Arabic). Although these were just words, they really used to motivate and encourage me to keep up the good work! Most of us prefer the money but we also need the good words of encouragement, benefits, flexible time, personal space and many more… so, what is it that keeps the new generation happy, let’s take a look:
Employee rewards have been an integral part of organisations and are considered a must for enhancing employee engagement and productivity. Nevertheless, you would think a good compensation package and annual perks would satisfy your employee and keep him/her going! Of late, there has been a drastic change in the employee rewarding system as employees are keen on receiving several intangible, non-monetary benefits from the employer, apart from the usual tangible, monetary benefits.
Some employers fall in the trap of just attracting people by offering them high salaries, but fail to motivate and reward them, hence losing them to other competitors. Few other employers go to the extreme by cutting off some benefits with an excuse of ‘cost cutting’, ignoring that employees are the most valuable asset for any organisation, hence resulting in demoralisation and de-motivation to the employees.
Indeed, a good salary is a significant factor that plays a huge role towards influencing the decision-making process of an employee while choosing his/her employer. However, as the person moves up in his/her career ladder, aspirations regarding benefits from the employer also change. It depends more on the level of career one is in, experience, personal needs, etc. The expectations from non-monetary benefits proportionately increase according to the level an employee grows in his/her career.
Adding to it, employees at an early stage of their career prefer short-term and monetary benefits since settlement in life is their first priority. However, a simple letter of appreciation or pat on the back as well as training nomination or special assignment, which is beneficial for career advancement, excites the younger generation.
Other intangible benefits may include flexi-working hours, additional paternity leave, providing transportation facilities and paid sabbaticals to further enhance academic knowledge, gift vouchers, etc.
However, there is a word of caution for employers before implementing non-monetary benefits for their employees. Non-monetary benefits work well under two circumstances: (1) When the employee is well paid and the company is comfortably positioned on the salary benchmarking scale and, (2) When there is a limited ability to pay and thus, a need to be creative.
It is only when employees start realising that their cash flow has reached a plateau and they are comfortably placed vis-à-vis the market, would he/she start appreciating non-monetary benefits.
Thus, good employees need both, tangible and non-tangible benefits and it is time organisations invest in providing a steady mix of both to their employers to attract and retain the best talent.