Moving Beyond Money: Money Not the Leading Factor in Employee Satisfaction
Monday, August 29, 2016 5:06:11 PM

Is there anything beyond money?
More than money, there are other perks and benefits which attract and retain talent in today’s digital age. Salary is still mainly important, but is considered no longer to be the most important factor. According to a study by Gallup Business Journal, “money only improves well-being to a certain point.” It takes far more than monetary compensation (or take-home pay) to attract talent to an organization. Additionally, for the millennials, and especially the ones who are at the fledgling stage of their careers, lifestyle benefits matter much, probably as much as salary.

According to surveys by Glassdoor, the job search and salary comparison site, 57% of job hunters enlist benefits and perks among their principal concerns when making job decisions. 80% also said they would prefer new perks over a pay raise, Glassdoor said.

When you think of employee perks and benefits, you are probably thinking of free meals or retreats to Hawaii. But the kind of benefits job seekers are after are more traditional. Employee benefits include several types of non-monetary compensation afforded to employees in addition to salary – such as performance linked bonus, employer-paid housing, medical insurance (dental, health, life), long-term insurance plans, disability benefits, paid sick leave, paid or unpaid vacation time, retirement benefits such as 401(k) plan, daycare benefits, adoption assistance, and even modern day benefits such as egg freezing, funding of education, or life coaching services, and so on.

Perks refer to privileges granted to employees, mostly to senior and well-performing employees, in addition to salary and benefits. These may include company provided car, leisure activities on work time such as golf, gym and club memberships, vacations, hotel stays, private parking space, free lunch, among others. Organizations today may have to think innovatively to redesign perks to revolve around the millennial and Gen X ideas of mental and physical wellness.

Glassdoor evaluated the benefits and perks which most matter to employees, and found the following:

  • Healthcare insurance such as medical and dental mattered 40%.
  • Vacation/Paid time off mattered 37%.
  • Performance bonus mattered 35%.
  • Paid sick days mattered 32%.
  • 401(k) plan retirement plan and/or pension mattered 31%.

Here are some unique benefits and perks that companies over the world are providing:

Netflix, the digital movie and TV company, launched a benefit of one year of paid maternity and paternity leave to new parents. Parents can also return part-time or full time and take time off as needed throughout the year.

Boeing offers a great health care plans. The aircraft manufacturing company also offers free funding to employees desiring to enroll in university or high-quality school.

Google’s quirky global offices have their exclusive perks. Apart from free lunch and unlimited snacks, some offices offer free doctor’s and wellness services; some have free shuttle buses to work, dry-cleaning facilities and many more.

Spotify provides six months of paid parental leave and new parents who are rejoining can have one month of flexible work options. Additionally, the company also pays for costs of egg freezing and fertility assistance.

Deloitte offers its employees two options: “the first allows employees an unpaid one-month sabbatical that they can take for any reason, at any time; or they can take up to six months off to volunteer or pursue personal or professional growth opportunities and still receive 40% of their salary.”


What keeps people satisfied beyond benefits and perks?

However, what keeps employees satisfied at work is a different story altogether. While competitive salary, benefits, and perks matter and make an impact in attracting talent, there are intangibles that push employees to stick to their jobs. The results of a Gallup survey of 2016 said “When employees are actively disengaged, the percentage who would consider leaving for a raise of 20% or less increases to 54%.”

Engagement strategies such as employee well-being is a main first step to retain them. “High employee well-being can improve retention,” according to Gallup’s research which also found, “The majority of engaged workers would require more than a 20% raise to leave their current company,” and “81% are less likely to seek out a new employer in the next year” if employees “thrive in all elements of well-being.”


Employees are motivated by company culture and values, and opportunities for growth and leadership to stay on. Millennials or Gen-Y ers are motivated by mentorship and skills training as far as non-material perks are concerned. They are interested in career development, which means finding their jobs interesting and utilizing their potential, and this may figure well for employers as far as building loyalty is concerned (a tendency which is thought to be lacking in this generation).