Not surprisingly, among those who are actively looking for a new position, salary and benefits are a top theme, according to qualitative data. And while many companies initially responded to staffing shortages by increasing compensation, that may not always be the best response.
“While compensation is obviously important, it is often not the most critical thing,” said Rozen. “It doesn't necessarily solve the other issues that we're seeing that employees may find more important, such as flexibility and more autonomy over their schedules.”
In addition, increasing compensation is not always possible. But luckily, many of the additional characteristics employees want in the workplace are not tied to finances, but rather to career development. For example, according to qualitative data, knowledge/skills/opportunity is also a leading theme for U.S. and Canadian middle market employees who are actively evaluating new opportunities.
“From a tactical and people perspective, focusing on career development is a win-win,” said Rozen. “Closing any potential skill gaps is important from a business perspective, but overall development is also what people are seeking. I think people would stay at an organization when they see opportunity ahead of them, they feel like they're working for something and they see a middle market company investing in them.”
Further, middle market employees were asked about what they have versus what they want at their current job. In both Canada and the United States, the most considerable gaps were with above-market compensation and incentive compensation arrangements. However, just below these gaps for U.S. middle market workers were defined career paths and equity/share ownership.