Employees: Money Isn't Everything

While working on this issue, I was struck by a recurring theme that emerged. While researching the article "Generation Y ... Why not?" I discovered that the newest crop of employees entering the workforce does not list making money as its top priority. Today's young people are concerned with finding a job that enables them to keep learning and that has meaning to them. This theme came up again while interviewing sources for the article "Train to retain". In this case, one of the sources claimed that while service technicians want to be paid a fair wage, they also place a high value on a workplace that encourages ongoing training and personal advancement.

What does this mean? Unfortunately, it doesn't mean you can stop worrying about offering your employees a competitive wage. People still want and need to make money. What it does indicate, however, is that you'll have to do more than offer a competitve wage to keep your employees satisfied.

Maybe it's because the youngest workers have grown up in a time of unprecedented prosperity and have very little fear of having to go without luxuries, let alone the basics, or maybe it's a sign of our civilization evolving in a positive direction.

Whatever the reason, experts say money is no longer enough to keep employees from leaving for the competition. What does seem to keep people on your payroll are ample opportunities to improve themselves with training and ongoing education.

Jim Roche with the Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC) states that service technicians who complete training programs and become certified experience a boost to their self-esteem that translates into a more professional demeanor and improved customer service. The same is probably true for other employees. The more an employee knows about his or her job and the company he or she works for, the more personal investment and loyalty that person feels.

Those of you who work with very lean staffs might scoff at the concept of regular training and ongoing educational opportunities. How can you afford to take guys out of your shop and away from the counter for the time it takes them to attend a training program? The truth is, you probably can't afford not to. According to Roche, it costs between 70 and 200 percent of a service technician's annual salary to replace him or her. In other words, finding someone new costs a lot of money, so it pays to keep those already on staff satisfied with their jobs.

Employee turnover remains one of the biggest issues facing the rental industry. Earning a competitive wage is important to all employees and represents a formidable challenge for many businesses. On the bright side, offering training and educational opportunities doesn't have to be a huge drain on your resources. You just have to make the commitment.