What Recent Trends in Employee Satisfaction and Benefits Mean for Business Owners

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A recent survey on employee satisfaction shows some trends that are not unexpected, but should provide an opportunity to create better working relationships.

According to a 2010 year-end survey of employees by Mercer LLC (a provider of HR advice and products), many workers are dissatisfied with career development, base salary and benefits.

  • Nearly one in three employees is seriously considering leaving his or her current employer. Forty percent of employees ages 25 to 34 are seriously looking to move.
  • Sixty-eight percent of employees consider their benefits good or very good, down from 76 percent in 2005.
  • Base pay is considered the most significant element of an employment package; not unexpected in this economy.

What does this mean for employers? 

Communicate! If you own or are a partner in a financial planning firm, help make the connections for your employees; help them understand how the firm plans to reward performance and how an employee could improve his or her compensation.

Communicate how your firm’s mission and vision ties to expectations for each employee and his or her position. From there, communicate your firm’s compensation policies—from determining base pay (and sources of information used to do this) to incentives, to benefits, to how you reward performance and offer promotions.

This is also a good time to look at your performance review process.  Make sure you are direct and clear about your expectations for employees and the consequences of average and below average performance. 

Re-examine job duties and expectations so you can direct employees to activities that ultimately help drive business results. Make sure that processes and procedures facilitate the desired business results and that employees have a voice in being able to suggest changes that will help deliver the firm’s vision, mission and business results.

Make discussions on career development a larger part of the performance discussion. Asking employees to periodically (at least annually) examine their progress and ideas for career development will give you the opportunity to decide how much of a career path you can shape for your employees.                                                                                                                                     

Retirement planning for some employees will be a major concern. Do all employees have the essential knowledge on retirement planning for their situation? Do you offer financial planning services as a benefit? I have observed many financial planning firms that do not offer financial planning services or even learning seminars as benefits for all employees. And when these excellent benefits are offered, they are often not communicated as part of the compensation package to an employee.

Mary Dunlap, CFP®
Mary Dunlap Consulting
Pottstown, Pa.

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