By Susan Ricker
There are often more perks to a job than a paycheck, as employers make an effort to retain their top workers and entice new prospects. From offices to flexible schedules to company cars, employees are enjoying more job incentives than ever, though they still have workplace wish lists.
A new CareerBuilder survey asked more than 3,900 full-time workers nationwide which job factors are most important to them to find out what makes employees satisfied with their job and workplace. While the recovering economy may give the impression that workers can't be too choosy, employers don't necessarily share this view. Thirty-two percent of employers report that top performers left their organization in 2012 and 39 percent are concerned that they'll lose top employees in 2013. While most workers (66 percent) say they are generally satisfied with their job, 25 percent say they will change jobs in 2013 or 2014.
What can employers do to retain their best workers, and what can employees request to create a more enjoyable workplace? The top survey answers focus on salary, onsite privileges and creating more job-related opportunities.
Title versus salaryWorkers may be more interested in promotions that include a salary bump than those that offer a new title. Though upward mobility is a key factor in job satisfaction and employee retention, 88 percent of workers surveyed say salary matters more than title, and 55 percent say having a certain title isn't important.
Other factors that outrank job title in what is most important to workers are:
- Flexible schedule -- 59 percent
- Being able to make a difference -- 48 percent
- Challenging work -- 35 percent
- Ability to work from home -- 33 percent
- Academic reimbursement -- 18 percent
- Having an office -- 17 percent
- Company car -- 14 percent
Dream job benefitsWho hasn't wished for a little more comfort on-the-job? Onsite luxuries are just a dream for some, but these gratuities may be what keep workers happy at their current company. Twenty-six percent of workers say that providing special perks is an effective way to improve employee retention.
When asked to identify one perk that would make their workplace more satisfying, some of the highest-scoring answers include early dismissals, convenient gym access and casual dress:
- Half-day Fridays -- 40 percent
- Onsite fitness center -- 20 percent
- Ability to wear jeans -- 18 percent
- Daily catered lunches -- 17 percent
- Massages -- 16 percent
- Nap room -- 12 percent
- Rides to and from work -- 12 percent
- Snack cart that comes around the office -- 8 percent
- Private restroom -- 7 percent
- Onsite daycare -- 6 percent
Perks to prevent employee turnoverWhen it comes to keeping workers, sometimes the perks offered pay for themselves. Seventy percent of workers report that increasing salaries is the best way to boost employee retention, and 58 percent of workers point to better benefits.
Other actions workers say employers should take to reduce voluntary turnover include:
- Provide flexible schedules -- 51 percent
- Increase employee recognition (awards, cash prizes, company trips) -- 50 percent
- Ask employees what they want and put feedback into action -- 48 percent
- Increase training and learning opportunities -- 35 percent
- Hire additional workers to ease workloads -- 22 percent
- Provide academic reimbursement -- 22 percent
- Carve out specific career paths and promote more -- 21 percent
- Institute a more casual dress code -- 14 percent
Though job perk wish lists may clue employers in to what makes workers happy, what can a boss realistically do to create a great workplace and satisfied workers? "What determines job satisfaction is not a one-size-fits-all, but flexibility, recognition, the ability to make a difference and yes, even special perks, can go a long way," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Being compensated well will always be a top consideration, but we're seeing work-life balance, telecommuting options and learning opportunities outweigh other job factors when an employee decides whether to stay with an organization."
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