By Lisa Cohn, PHR
Let’s face it. No one ever thinks they make enough money. Whether your company is non-profit or for-profit, large or small, nearly everyone thinks they deserve a larger paycheck. With that said, there are so many other important factors and benefits to consider in your job search aside from your ideal salary and 401K package. After having worked in different fields and for organizations from small non-profits to larger corporations, I’ve come to realize that money is important, but not always the most significant factor to consider related to your job and career.
I recently moved from Baltimore City to Howard County with the whole gang- husband, 2 year old daughter, and mutt. While I was packing up boxes and moving, I started to question whether I should consider looking for a different job. After all, I was taking on a larger mortgage and adding an extra hour onto my daily commute. I ended up making a list of the pros and cons and was surprised how many items were on the plus side for staying at my current job: flexible work schedule (leaving early on Fridays and being close to daycare), supportive work culture (team-oriented atmosphere), and professional development opportunities (able to attend seminars and conferences and take on new job assignments). This exercise really got me thinking about how much I valued my personal work relationships with coworkers and feeling part of a team, as well as having a work-life balance for my family. In the end, staying put was worth the compromise.
An article on LinkedIn called “What employee perks best motivate staff?” really spoke to me when writing this blog. The article talked about how traditional employee benefits such as salary, insurance and holidays are great, but actually not as effective in attracting new workforce talent.
Here are some non-financial work benefits to consider that may be of interest to you during your job search.
- Flexible Work Schedule: Are you allowed to set your own hours and schedule? Can employees work from home if needed? Do they close early on Fridays or during the summer? How does the employer handle snow days when schools are closed?
- Benefit Package: Does the benefit package meet your and your family’s personal needs, and is it cost effective? Do they offer tuition reimbursement or continuing education classes?
- Health & Wellness: Is there an on-site gym, or does the employer offer a free or discounted membership? Some companies even have wellness lunch and learn programs, or offer smoking cessation classes.
- Physical Environment: Would you be comfortable in a cubicle, or would you prefer a desk with a window? Consider also if you prefer working in the city, or a residential town. And if you don’t have personal vehicle, is the company accessible via public transportation?
- Work Culture: Is there a supportive team environment? Do people socialize during the day, or do people work independently? If there are company outings like baseball games and happy hours, would you enjoy attending?
- Dress Code: Does your company have casual Fridays or other dress down options?
- Time Off & Holidays: Does this company offer enough time off for work/life balance for friends, families and other obligations?
- Work Proximity: Will the drive wear you out, or is it worth it? If you have children, are there daycare options close to work?
- Technology & Resources: Are you looking to work at an innovative company? Check out the current employee resources and software programs. Do they use laptops and IPads, and are they open to virtual and remote meetings?
- Professional Development: Are there opportunities for advancement and professional and personal growth? Are raises and promotions connected to reviews? Are there lateral moves available to gain additional skills and experience? How are rewards given?
- Other: Some companies even have an employee cafeteria, or offer discounts for things such as dry-cleaning, movies, or community events.
I know it’s unrealistic to think that money doesn’t matter, as you do have to be able pay your bills and support your lifestyle, but you also need to factor in your own happiness, and your personal and professional goals. It’s important to prioritize what’s most essential to you in a job and to hopefully identify an employer that has a work culture and environment that aligns best with your personality, work style and values.
By Lisa Cohn, PHR, Account Representative, JCS Career Center
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance. To learn more, click here or call 410-466-9200.