7 ways to motivate employees beyond salary

With this in mind, the question becomes, what other factors do job seekers weigh up in addition to pay? And how can you improve your retention by motivating employees beyond salary?

Here are seven ways to motivate employees that aren’t a pay rise (although that’s still good too!).

1. Flexibility
A recent survey by Logitech found that 42% of Australians would prefer to work from home than receive a pay rise. What’s more, 64% said that working from home saved travel time, thus allowing a better work-life balance.

Additionally, having to return to a physical workplace would cause 41% of employees to seek a job with another company.

The message is clear: employees value flexibility, with many considering it as important as pay.

2. Ethics & values
79% of employees wouldn’t accept a better-paying position at a company with questionable ethics, such as not acting against sexual harassment, creating environmental problems, paying female employees less, and selling user data without their permission.

To take this a step further, 73% of people wouldn’t even consider applying to a company unless its values align with their values, while 36% of people have left a job because they disagreed with a company’s ethical standards.

Despite this, the 2021 Global Business Ethics Survey finds that just 14% of employees believe they work in an organization with a strong ethical culture, meaning there is significant room for improvement.

3. Empathy
While most employees wouldn’t accept a pay rise to work for an unethical company, 60% of employees would accept a pay cut to work for a more empathetic company.

Moreover, 95% of employees would be more likely to stay with a company if it was more empathetic, while 81% would switch to another job for equal pay if they were more empathetic.

For tips on making your organization more empathetic, see our guide on how to lead with empathy.

4. Career progression
56% of employees say career growth and opportunity are more important than salary, according to Forbes.

Further, 68% of employees say training and development is a company’s most important policy, while 76% say a company would be more appealing if it offered additional skills training.

As ever, employees are crying out for more career progression and L&D opportunities — it’s your responsibility to answer these calls.

5. Company culture
Glassdoor found that 56% of employees believe company culture is more important than salary, rising to 66% among Millennials. 71% agree that if their company’s culture deteriorated, they’d look for a new job.

To emphasize this point, 15% of people have turned down a job offer due to poor company culture.

As such, a strong, welcoming company culture is vital to attract, engage, and retain employees. For more insights, see our blog on creating a sustainable learning culture.

6. Benefits
Nearly 4 in 5 employees (79%) would prefer new or additional benefits — such as paid time off, flexible scheduling, office perks, tuition reimbursement, performance bonuses, employee discounts, or stock options — to a pay rise.

7. Smile more, stress less
Finally, 75% of people would hesitate to accept a higher-paying job if it meant taking on more stress. In contrast, 80% would prefer to work in a happy environment and get on with their colleagues than receive a pay rise.

To help reduce stress at work, see our article on creating a stress-free learning environment.

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