Show Me the Money: Workers Put a Bonus, Raise First on Wish List

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It may not buy happiness, but money is top of mind for employees today, according to a recent survey. Nearly half (48 percent) of workers polled said what they want most at work is a bonus or raise. More time off ranked second, with 24 percent of the response, followed by additional support at the office, with 17 percent. The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 571 men and women, all 18 years of age or older and employed.

Survey respondents were asked, "Which one of the following is at the top of your 'wish list' at work?" Their responses:

  • A bonus or raise 48%
  • More time off 24%
  • More help at the office, such as an assistant or someone to delegate projects to 17%
  • More of your boss's time 4%
  • Something else/none of the above 6%
  • Don't know/no answer 1%

"What the survey may really be telling us is that employees today are feeling undervalued, overworked and spread too thin. For those who have assumed additional responsibilities to make up for personnel shortages, a raise or bonus is a tangible, meaningful reward," said Diane Domeyer, OfficeTeam executive director. "Employers should ensure that salary levels are competitive with those of similar firms in their industry and geographic region, or risk losing top performers."

If budgets remain tight, giving workers more vacation time or schedule flexibility can be a motivation-builder, Domeyer said. A positive corporate culture can also prevent burnout and increase retention rates. "Compensation may top the wish list, but employees also want an enriching work experience."

Domeyer offered these tips for building a more positive work environment:

  • Don't assume employees know they're appreciated. There is no such thing as too much praise, as long as it's specific, genuine and timely.
  • Offer a lifeline. Reprioritize projects, keeping in mind that something has to give when resources are limited. If full-time hiring is not an option, consider bringing in a temporary or project worker to assist during peak periods.
  • Communicate. Share good and bad news with staff, and collaborate with them to solve problems. Seek feedback from your more reserved employees, in addition to your more vocal team members.

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