A good salary does not make staff loyal: experts

Companies need to look beyond pay-packages to get better results from employees, say experts

Salary is a critical component of getting employees to work, but is it enough of a motivation to keep the momentum going in order to achieve better outcomes?

Think about the motivations that compel you to do a good job and to achieve great outcomes? How important is salary on that list? Is good income the most important thing that makes you work harder to achieve better results?

In these recessionary times, keeping one’s job and, consequently, taking the pay-cheque home every month should be incentive enough for employees to overachieve their goals. Right?

Not entirely so. Even in Dubai, where a large proportion of the expat population is driven by monetary gains, salary-hikes may not be ‘the’ thing to drive employees.

According to leading recruitment experts in the country, companies need to look beyond pay-packages to get better results from employees, as salary alone is not the solution to the problem.

“An excellent compensation package will help you to initially attract better employees, but retaining them has far more to do with management style and company culture,” Cliff Single, Commercial Manager, BAC Middle East, told Emirates 24|7.

“There is a saying that ‘people leave managers not companies’ and the nature and quality of an employee’s relationships with their colleagues plays a major role in their job satisfaction and engagement,” he explained.

“In general, money and benefits do not make an employee loyal,” agreed Konstantina Sakellariou, a Dubai-based Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase International.

When experts suggest factors (or needs) that determine the motivation of employees in the workplace, almost everyone immediately thinks of a high salary. This answer may correct to the extent that some employees will be motivated by money, but mostly wrong for the reason that it does not satisfy others (to a lasting degree).

“[Monetary benefits] may just keep an employee satisfied, or, if the remuneration is high, it may make it more difficult for the executive to move out of the company. But company culture, future growth opportunities and recognition within the company are for sure more important elements and build long-term relationships within a company,” Sakellariou explained.

This supports the statement that human motivation is a personal characteristic, and not a one-size-fits-all option.

“Good pay and benefits will remove one potential source of dissatisfaction, but they will not create employee engagement if there is a negative company culture or a fundamental unhappiness with the company’s management style,” Single added.

The variables sometimes change for different hierarchical levels within an organisation. Employees at the starting level may be more inclined towards money but the same may not be applicable once one climbs higher up the organisational ladder.

“It's a little bit different depending on the level at which an employee is working. While for the younger managers, good pay and benefits and great work environment can play a more prominent role, for senior executives, there could be factors such as the brand of the employer, challenge and recognition, as well as equity they receive in the company,” said Anastasia Alpaticova of Pedersen & Partners.

According to Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Pathway Resourcing, it’s a combination of several factors and money is just one of them. “Recognition and reward,” are his picks. “Recognition for effort and intent, as opposed to just rewarding results, are the way to go,” he said.

“Rewarding the small victories day-to-day along with the big meaningful tangible victories at the end of a target [can help],” he added. “Bosses that can create rapport with staff [also works]. Last but not least, a good remuneration package and/or potential earnings. [It] has to be a combination of the above – in isolation, it will not appeal to everyone,” he said.

Factors like long-term growth and the nature of company are big drives when it comes to motivating people working in the UAE.

According to Amer Zureikat, Vice President Sales at Bayt.com which conducted a motivation poll, motivation drivers for employees in the country are: opportunities for long-term growth (40 per cent of votes), company brand and reputation (31 per cent), line manager (32 per cent), training and development opportunities (30 per cent), colleagues and environment (31 per cent), nature of daily responsibilities (28 per cent).

Three in four (73 per cent) of employees in the region said work-life balance is very important to them as well. In a nutshell, Royston Fernandes, General Manager at Lobo Managemnet Services, says it’s “a great boss, co-workers and a perfect team” that make up for the best motivational mix.


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