Case study: Putting more money in employees' pockets

Periodically, we like to offer success stories from HR pros from across the U.S. This account of how one employer improved morale and retention comes courtesy of Beth Lordi, manager and part owner of Loccisano’s Golden Dawn in Ellwood City, PA. 
We were all for employee perks, except for one thing: They weren’t really working for us.
We’d done all the typical employee rewards, including raffles for tickets to local sports events.
But time and again, we found that few employees got excited about what we had to offer; the rewards just weren’t having the positive effect we were looking for.
We hated to admit it, but we knew the one thing our employees wanted: money.
But across-the-board pay raises weren’t on the table.
What could we do?

Through the back door

Instead of trying to find ways to actively give employees more money, we started looking for ways to allow employees to keep more of the money they were earning.
That started first by taking another look at our healthcare plan – and making some changes.
We moved to a high-deductible plan where we pay 100% of employees’ premiums.
We also moved to a 75/50 plan for our dental insurance as well.
Those changes meant staffers were paying less out of pocket every month for health care – and keeping more of the money they were earning.

New OT program

The other major change we made: purposefully scheduling some employees to work overtime.
Now, that may seem backward, but it made a lot of sense to us.
As we said, we couldn’t give everyone a pay raise.
But looking at our budget, we were able to determine that we could afford to pay some staffers a little more – if they worked for it.
Our thought: If they had the time, we could handle paying them time-and-a-half for it.
Now, that didn’t work for everyone, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t lose some staffers who wanted a straight pay increase.
But for employees looking to add a little money to their wallets, the on-purpose overtime program was a big help.

Retention help

The benefits of our perks program is that when employees get their paychecks, the only money that gets taken out is taxes – and staffers have told us how much they appreciate that.
We like to think we’re in tune with what our employees want. And what most of them want is more money.
We’ve taken big steps to make that happen – and that’s shown in our retention rates.