Show Me the Money? Attract/Retain Talent with Any Budget
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Show Me the Money? Attract/Retain Talent with Any Budget


"Money makes the world go 'round." Not really, but it is important.  Of course this statement is not true for everyone, but it is true for most of the working population. How can I claim this? With 20 plus years of talking to thousands of candidates money is discussed a lot and you see patterns in the perception of money from the candidate’s and employee’s perspective.


Unless a business has all the money in the world, considering other incentives and rewards is a must. Everyone likes to get bonuses and receive strong salaries, but are these the only incentive that cause people to do good work? Money is a great incentive, but each of us is a bit more complex in terms of our needs. Many individuals live their lives by how they feel about what they have, not by what they actually possess. Money is a means to a feeling and to an experience.

In looking at the “experience" and "feeling" of money the role a person has in their day to day work has a strong influence on their perception. 


For example a sales person is: driven by money because that is their job; they are motivated to make more money for their company and in turn look to receive incentives (monetarily).

  • The focus of their job is money.

  • The company expects them to bring in a lot of it.

  • The company sees these individuals increase productivity by hitting targets or surpassing them.

  • In general, society perceives that a good sales person will be someone who has a nice car, nice clothing and a nice house.

  • This individual will be motivated by other factors, but the idea of money and finances is all around them by design of the work they do.

Of course, sales individuals want to feel valued beyond money and they do not want to earn money selling something they don't believe in. They want to know what they sell will be delivered successfully by the company they are working for. They are ambitious, risk takers and driven.  These attributes describe the feelings a sales person has to support them, in completing the task of driving revenue, and helping to make the company get the highest profit possible.  If all of these things are aligned it tends to lead the way for a sales person to join a company and to flourish.


Alternatively, an engineer or designer will be motivated by the accolades they get from their work. They tend to think about things like:

  • Does the company or the client notice or the industry notice their worth?

  • Are their skills valued? Is this worthy of outside recognition?

  • This gives them acceptance, recognition, comfort and security. These "incentives" make them feel good; however, money is a "point system" they look at to determine if they are valued. If their company peers are not creating what they are doing personally and yet their peers are making more money, the engineer or designer will look at other companies that will value them at a level where they feel their "points" should be set. Equality or value is the key for these individuals.

People in general want the feeling of being valued in a job and having a sense of security.


Incentives are important, but there are many other ways to create value and security.


We have recognized that the companies that do well, and are not necessarily at the top of the pay scale, tend to measure the level of how engaged or "embedded" employees are. This can be done through direct communication or surveys, as well as seeing what they are saying on social media about work.


Here are some great questions that show how current employees view their current role and the company:

  • Do they feel they are managed/lead well and are being developed?

  • How do they perceive the quality of life in the company (do they feel valued, believe in the company's mission/vision, know where to get the tools, etc.)?

  • Do they know what the internal or external customers need and feel they can meet/exceed the expectations?

  • Do they feel they are looked at as unique, but part of the team?

  • Those that seem to have a clear picture and can answer yes to these questions are generally happy and put a value on the joy they find at work, beyond cash.

In terms of recruiting new team members it is important to understand the needs of a person in their role and how they look at their job on a day to day basis.  It is equally important in the recruitment process to understand motivations of the recruit, set the expectations of the company, set expectations for the role and to make sure everything aligns with the value of the market.  This will set the foundation, attract the new recruit and lead to a solid relationship that does not revert to a sole focus of money.


In the words of MasterCard base salary $xxx,xxx, bonus $xxx,xxx and work satisfaction priceless.   

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