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February 2, 2023

The Five Benefits Employees Want Most (Other Than Money) in 2023 According to ‘Experts’

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The following article was in a recent CPA Letter Daily sandwiched between a JofA piece on how Latino CPAs found strength in numbers (pun intended?) through the ALPFA and BPM transformation officer Lindsay Stevenson talking about remote work and change fatigue on the JofA podcast.

Like many articles in this vein, this Bloomberg piece encourages employers to think beyond salary when thinking about talent. What do people want? Other than money, that is.

Of course, pay is paramount for most people — but beyond an attractive salary, in the current environment companies need to find new ways to distinguish themselves as an employer of choice, experts say.

“At first, companies were throwing money at the problem: You had retention bonuses, and you had pay adjustments. And those did serve a purpose,” said Melissa Swift, US transformation leader at consulting firm Mercer. “But now we’re seeing a shift to sustainable retention strategies: What can you do going forward that will actually continue to retain people so you don’t keep trying to put out the fire with cash.”

These things never end well. Remember when EY embarrassed themselves with the whole “empathetic leadership” thing they ended up backtracking on and deleting?

Ah well maybe this one will be different and enlighten us to some mystical non-monetary, non-work/life balance perk that will draw potential employees to a business like a moths to a non-LED bulb. So what can employers do going forward to attract and retain talent other than throwing cash at people? Here are the five benefits U.S. employees want most according to this one Bloomberg article.

Remote work

The opportunity to work from home tops the list of priorities for most candidates with remote-capable jobs. Studies have shown that remote work improves engagement, cuts attrition and boosts productivity — despite many bosses placing a high value on getting employees back to their desks.

Fair. And true. And not changing — not now, not ever.

Flexibility

Getting to work from home is just one aspect, though. This is about having control over your schedule in a more general way.

“Even the organizations that have returned to the office have made some significant changes in how they think about flexibility,” said Ben Granger, chief workplace psychologist at Qualtrics. Some now allow parents to cut and paste schedules, like leaving mid-afternoon to pick up kids and then logging on later, or commuting late morning after getting kids to school.

This is an utterly shocking revelation. And one that accounting firms continue to struggle with.

Surprised they didn’t throw “unlimited vacation” in here.

Sustainable work

Companies are redesigning work to build in proactive rest that prevents burnout rather than responding to it after the fact, said Caitlin Duffy, research director at consulting firm Gartner Inc. Some strategies include meeting-free days, summer Fridays, four-day weeks, firm-wide shutdowns, upping vacation time, reducing tech overload and even a daily nap.

I love how they’re acting like this is a trend and not something workers since the dawn of time have been begging for.

2023 is the year we respect our own Out of Office and set some boundaries. “What are they going to do? Fire us all?

And then we take a nap.

Financial health

“In the past, when people thought about financial well-being they were definitely focused more on retirement and longer-term wealth,” said Catherine Hartmann, global head of work, rewards and careers at consulting firm Willis Towers Watson Plc. “But there’s other ways people can have better financial well-being, like elder-care assistance or child care. That cost being covered by the company is a way for you to have more money in your pocket.”

I mean, if you get paid enough you don’t need your job to pay for it.

Some of the more popular benefits offered by firms are flexible lifestyle support. By this we mean covering doggy daycare on days you are in the office, as an example. With “free coffee at the office” out as a perk, firms that think broadly about how to support their people in their non-work lives will have a leg up. Just look at how popular fitness and wellness funds are, and how happy grown adults are when you allow them to use these funds as they see fit to improve their lives. So what if they spend it on gaming chairs and XBoxes. Let them.

Job security

In 2022, employees were penalized with a so-called “loyalty tax” for staying with their employer rather than leaving for a pay raise elsewhere, Hartmann said. This year, companies with track records of stability even in challenging economic times will be in a better position to attract top talent than flashy new startups that have yet to turn a profit.

“Job security is going to be a bigger thing,” she said, with applicants gauging the strength of an employer’s leadership, business prospects and financial resiliency.

Haha no. These hoes ain’t loyal.

Before I wrap this up, I’m going to leave you with a salient comment pulled from r/accounting. The comment is a year old but it doesn’t even matter because the sentiment has always been the same. And that sentiment is, broadly speaking, Fuck You Pay Me.

Whoever figures this out first will have minimal retention problems going forward.

Here are the Five Benefits US Employees Want Most [Bloomberg]

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