More than Money: What Workers Want in 2018

“Say it with money”
is the general rule of how to get and keep workers, and there is something to
that. Aside from some happy exceptions, people are generally not working solely
for their own enjoyment, so hiking compensation or paying bonuses or sweetening
benefits packages makes sense when the labor market is tight. It is certainly
why now, with unemployment rates at their lowest levels in decades, wages are
finally rising in North America.

What if workers wanted more than money or if they were
willing to trade some of it for other, harder to quantify things? What if they
worked harder and did more and stuck around longer if they were happy at work?
It is something to consider in a time when talent is acknowledged as a critical
element of economic success.

Very loosely translated, “making workers happy” is sometimes
referred to as “employee engagement.”  According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global
Workplace report, 85 per cent of employees are either “not engaged” or
“actively disengaged” at work. By its calculations, that translates into
US$7-trillion of lost productivity globally. Indifference among workers is
hardly likely to be a harbinger of excellence in terms of their performance.

According to a survey of 2,000 U.S. workers by
human-resources consulting company BetterUp, just published in the Harvard
Business Review, a staggering 90 per cent of respondents claim that they would
trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work. They
even got specific as to how much they would trade, with U.S. workers on average
saying they would give up 23 per cent of entire future lifetime earnings to
have a job that was always “meaningful.” By BetterUp’s calculations of a “job
satisfaction to productivity ratio,” highly meaningful work translates into an
additional US $9,078 a worker a year in productivity.

Take the idea of technology spending, a staple of how to
increase productivity. Companies are now pursuing it zealously, which is presumably
great for overall growth. According to a 2018 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers
that covered 12,000 workers across eight countries (including Canada), 90 per
cent of C-Suite executives think they pay attention to people’s needs when
introducing new technology, while only 53 per cent of staff agree that they do.
Ironically, that suggests that as companies pursue better productivity they are
unintentionally alienating workers, which presumably drives it down.

Providing meaning and engagement may be more difficult than
serving up the snacks, but clearly it is an undertaking worth pursuing both to
meet the goals of individual companies and the larger economic picture.

At Converge HR Solutions, we specialize in handling all Human
Resource needs, including employee compensation and regulatory compliance. We
can assist your company in understanding employee engagement and can help you
in creating a positive work environment so that you can trust your employees
and implement flexibility in your workplace. To learn more about the products
and services Converge has to offer, visit our website at You can also email us directly
at or give us a call at

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