IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
Are hard-working Kiwis going unrewarded?
Tue, 9th Apr 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

New Zealand workplaces are under increasing pressure as employers seek to do more with less, leaving employees to shoulder more responsibility and work longer hours.

Yet they want greater rewards.

According to Kiwi recruitment firm Hudson, who released the Hudson Salary & Employment Insights for 2013, the challenge for employers is to formally recognise and reward employees for commitment, loyalty and increased workload whilst trying to balance the books.

Tough economic conditions are putting pressure on employers to manage their budgets tightly across all areas of business, including in the areas of hiring and retention.

The report says only 21.1% of employers say they always replace roles when a team member leaves, with 67.2% distributing the workload amongst the remaining team members instead.

As a consequence, 77.0% of current employees take on greater or new responsibilities, yet worryingly for companies, close to half (41.6%) reported they are more stressed than a year ago as even more (56.4%) of employees actively or passively look for new roles.

An increase in pay was cited as the most important consideration when changing jobs by 22.8% by employees and whilst most employers (70.9%) plan to award modest pay rises of 2-3% in 2013, this was mainly motivated by a desire to retain high performers.

Those employers not rewarding high performers (57.1%) were understandably worried about losing them.

“With employees motivated by pay and budgets remaining tight, employers should prioritise spending and ensure rewards and benefits incentivise and retain high performers,” says Roman Rogers, executive heneral manager, Hudson New Zealand.

“Employers need to strike the balance between rewarding staff and managing financial pressures.

"Where roles aren’t being replaced, that’s putting pressure on the current team and is not sustainable in the long term.

"Consequently, employers need to protect their position and take steps to retain high performers, as high-staff churn is counter-productive.”

Despite the increase in workloads and responsibilities and lack of financial rewards however, the study suggests employee morale levels remain high.

Hudson says this could be explained by businesses doing better when it comes to communicating their strategies and plan to employees in difficult times – leading to higher engagement and optimism.

But while pay remains a top priority, other employment factors also remain important including job satisfaction, being in a work culture that makes workers happy and improving overall career opportunities.

“We know that strong staff engagement is needed for staff retention," Roger says.

"So where budgets are tight, meaningful reward and recognition programmes can play a significant role in the salary package with flexible working hours, bonuses and subsidised health benefits being the top three benefits offered by employers.

“It’s important to include regular and honest communication with managers and positive feedback on work or projects, to ensure team members are aware of business challenges and objectives, and feel involved and motivated.”

“If employees understand their efforts will be recognised and rewarded, they are more likely to be engaged, work productively and contribute to a positive company culture than can survive challenging economic times.

"It’s good to see employers heeding this advice, as it will aid them in mitigating economic challenges in 2013."

Are you rewarded for hard-work? Tell us your thoughts below