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Throwing Money at People Still a Solid Retention Strategy

Oh look, a study found that CFOs are trying to retain their top employees with raises and promotions:   

Sixty-three per cent say they are promoting top performers, and 52% say they are increasing salaries. The other strategies, in order of selection by more than 2,200 CFOs in the US survey: increasing investment in professional development or training (50%), enhancing employee benefits (48%), and reinstating or increasing bonuses (32%).

Good news, CFOs — according to a recent Harvard Business Review post, this is precisely the right strategy, as employees value competitive compensation higher than anything else:

The most important contributor to job satisfaction for all employees was base pay, followed by bonus pay. High performers cared significantly more about both of these factors than average or low performers. Tenure-based or compensation strategies with little differentiation between high and low performers are likely to alienate your high performers the most. The difference between a 2% raise and a 6% raise, as is common in many compensation strategies, is not significant enough to keep high performers who have more options in the marketplace.

Am I weird to be surprised by this? Wait…I'll answer: Yes

The HBR piece, published in November, also mentioned that one in five "high performers" plans to leave their job in the next six months, which is more or less now. It also states that one in four "likely to leave in the near term" and "less than half are satisfied with their jobs." 

Is keeping those people as simple as tossing them an 8% raise? Or giving them a promotion they may or may not be ready for?


So who out there is willing to take a 7%-10% raise and/or a new title as a bribe from their employer? How long does that keep you there? Would any non-monetary gesture — Bring your pet! No more business casual! Four-day work weeks in the summer! — convince you stay? Discuss.

CFOs see need for more raises, promotions [CGMA]
What High Performers Want at Work [HBR]