Competitive pay isn’t enough

Think offering competitive pay to candidates is a winning strategy? Think again. Sure, it might get someone in the door, but it won’t keep them for long if you don’t have a work environment that appeals to them on some level (more on what motivates employees from Daniel Pink).

As compensation budgets tighten and perks get cut across the board for many employers, the only differentiator many can turn to is their culture.

Competing on pay is a losing game. Compete on culture.

I’ve heard it said that candidates take the job for the money and stay for the culture. Anyone else think that’s true?

18 thoughts on “Competitive pay isn’t enough

  1. Michael Brisciana

    Ben – – – I absolutely believe that what you’re suggesting here is dead-on accurate. They say that pay is a “dis-satisfier” not a satisfier — thus, won’t satisfy someone enough to stay (long term) if there’s nothing else in the job they’re satisfied with. Instead, satisfiers are job growth, meaningful challenges, skill development, the opportunity to interact and collaborate with colleagues (and supervisors) that you like and respect, being aligned with the company’s mission, shared values, etc. … all adding up to “culture.” You hit it straight-on!

    Most of the above list isn’t drastically affected (or affected at all) by tight funds, limited resources, etc. Almost all of the above can be created and maintained if there is the organizational and leadership will to do so. It’s a time-and-effort question on the part of leadership, not a question of money/resources. The old adage “where there’s a will there’s a way” rings true here, I believe.

    Michael B

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  3. Valerie Iravani

    I agree! Compensation does get a candidate to accept a job, and culture helps keep them there, but a great manager will keep them in place even longer – as will learning opportunities.

    For years, my husband and I have tried to negotiate more vacation days each year as part of a compensation package, but companies don’t seem to understand how attractive this is to every employee – especially Gen Yers. We would prefer more vacation days to a small cost of living increase. Soon, it will be a deal breaker for some candidates.

    How do we get more employers to take action more quickly on these issues?

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