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Hope vs. Reality: How Employees and Managers Differ on 2018 Raises

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Our most recent job market research continues to tell the tale of a strong talent-favoring job market. Total compensation (salary and any additional payouts like bonuses or commission) continued to rise with 75% of research participants reporting an increase in 2017. Full-time, non-executive employees enjoyed an 8% bump. Looking ahead to 2018, employees surveyed are optimistic about raises – 2 in 5 believe they will see a total compensation increase in the 5-15% range. Managers, however, anticipate raise ranges differently, with 7 in 10 predicting them to be 5% or lower. Companies need to be prepared for the fallout from comp increases that disappoint. According to our research, compensation is the number one influence on employee behavior and perception, including talent wanderlust,  on-the-job happiness,  employee engagement, and their stress level.

More than just the number

For employers who may come up short against employee compensation expectations, there are other things that they can offer to allay disappointment. With employee concern over healthcare on the rise, it’s no surprise that offering improved benefits is a comp tradeoff that employees would consider.  As is receiving the gift of time in the form of additional paid time off or a more flexible schedule. Better advancement opportunities or a professional growth plan are also non-monetary investments in the employee that are viewed favorably.

A sweet deal

In today’s tight talent market, employers need to remember that sweetening the employment deal is critical to retaining their top talent. Very often it is less expensive to make a current, proven performer happy through generous monetary increases or by adding attractive features to the employment proposition than to recruit and hire a new employee completely.