The Elements

By Andrea Schlapia   |   September 4, 2014

What Mediocre Pay Raises Mean For Your Financial Firm

Categories: Blog, Compensation, Incentive Plan, Strategic Planning

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Projections for 2015 pay raises are in. If you plan to stick to the predications, your team will see mediocre salary increases that still remain lower than pre-recession rates. What does this mean for your firm?

The latest study from Mercer indicates increases for most industries and the average employee will fall in at a 3 percent raise; slightly above the 2.7 percent increase in 2011 and the 2.9 percent increase in 2013. Even if you choose to dish out the projected pay increase of 3.7 percent to 4.8 percent for top performers, employees don’t feel it’s enough to keep up with the rising cost of living.

Today’s workforce doesn’t recognize a 3 percent raise as generous. In fact, as long as pay increases stay in a depressed range, your firm will need to remain competitive through other means. Added incentives or employee appreciation programs can help retain your star employees.

When money doesn’t talk, here are the top 5 things employees want. Don’t ignore them, there is an added bonus, they increase engagement, production, and retention!

1. Appreciation

Employees cite feeling under-appreciated as a top concern. Recognize team members for hard work, reaching sales honor them during team meetings. Teams need to unite in celebrating the success of everyone in your organization.

2. Leadership/Management Feedback

Employees want access to continuous feedback. While annual reviews shouldn’t be overlooked, an on-going performance management system that includes a career path should be implemented.

3. Positive Environment

The culture in your workplace is more than a bunch of happy people. Teach, nurture, and protect your firm’s culture. Ensure that each team member understands how their contributions can support your vision, purpose, and mission. Download our 10-step worksheet to create a positive culture and lead with intentional purpose at your firm.

4. Incentive Programs  

A study by the Incentive Research Foundation found that individual incentives can increase performance by an average of 22 percent, while team incentives may bolster performance by as much as 44 percent. Firms with the best success utilize rewards in the form of money or other tangibles such as time off, movie tickets, spa days, or other personal interests that are specific to your employees.

5. Flexible Work Schedules

Your employees crave flexibility with their work schedule. Most feel so strongly about a healthy work/life balance they are willing to exchange increased pay or promotions for flexibility. Offer options outside of the standard 9-to-5 workday to show you are forward thinking and in tune with the need of your employees.

While salary is important, it is often a losing battle when bidding for top talent. Savvy employees often look beyond the dollar signs for other perks an organization can offer. Focus on alternative key advantages your firm can provide that will make employees want to stay for the long haul.


The foundation of our Performance Coaching and Consulting Programs are based on Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™, which is essential to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Our ultimate goal is to help you avoid trial and error; shifting your mindset to launch your process of intentional change. [LEARN MORE]

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Thinkstock

Copyright ©Ironstone 2014. All rights reserved.









Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life.

Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.

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