Insight

Not All Career Moves Are About Money

by Katie E. Rodgers

Let’s face it, money is obviously important. We are all working, in general, to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. However, most of our career choices center around potential; the potential to move up the ladder, the potential for better benefits and compensation, and the potential to learn and do something we’ve always wanted to add to our skill-set or repertoire. In that potential lies our true motivations.


For over 26 years, Helbling & Associates has listened intently to candidates, paid attention to detail, and studied the art of executive search. We realize each professional looking to make a career move is different, every situation pans out a little differently, and everyone’s end-goal is to live with purpose. So, is it really all about the money?


15-20% of our placements each year are, with regards to compensation, lateral moves. That number isn’t necessarily high, but it’s not low either. Running a comparison on the folks who made a lateral
move, we noticed a few key factors that played into their decision:

  1. Company mission and values

  2. Career opportunity

  3. Work/life balance

If you lumped all of these together, the common themes are balance, flexibility, and passion. What may or may not surprise you is that our non-lateral movers also cared about the same factors, just with the addition of benefits, stability, and tuition reimbursement. I would argue that those still follow the notion of balance, flexibility, and a passion for learning. These unique parallels amongst all professionals help us understand what organizations can do to increase retention and better their recruitment strategies. This is especially important for smaller companies who have a hard time competing with salaries in the marketplace.


First and foremost, start with the small things that have a huge impact, such as:


Option 1. Implement a total reward strategy.

This would allow current employees an opportunity to receive small rewards when they achieve target business goals and motivate them to strive for excellence. It also creates an added benefit for hiring managers to recruit “on the fence” candidates based on personal growth opportunities and development.


Option 2. Create benefits, such as a “work from home” schedule, that employees can opt-in after exceeding performance expectations.

We’re all aware that working from home helps with work/life balance and time management skills while taking little to nothing away from the employer. However, there has to be incentive to work hard in order to receive the added benefits. Work benefits into your performance reviews and you’ll keep current employees motivated and satisfied, and it will show new hires and candidates how much you value your people.


Option 3. Pledge your commitment to diversity. Read more >>

With a pledge to diversity must come an equal commitment toward inclusion. Inclusionary practices manifest in the form of recognizing what voices in the room you’re missing that are important perspectives to hear, understanding when situations call for everyone in the company to be involved, allowing minority opinions to reshape ideas and goals, and ensuring mutual respect. Not only do you and your team benefit from these practices, but candidates feel comfortable their voice will be heard – and that is a great feeling.


Option 4. Support a volunteer or charity organization, or two.

Better yet, create a volunteer action day once or twice a year where your employees either get the full day or half day off to volunteer with an organization that closely reflects your company’s values. It’s great to show humility and vulnerability to candidates and employees by recognizing the importance of giving back to your local community. If you’re the hiring manager, make sure you paint a picture for the organization you support and why so candidates are aware that you’re as passionate about your cause as you are about your business.


Each option explores the common themes that motivate people to make a career move – lateral or not – and have very little trade-off in terms of money. These may seem small, but consider this: there are some extremely talented people sitting at other firms of your exact size, possibly in your industry, wishing that they had the opportunity to get more involved and the reward systems to push them toward professional and personal fulfillment. If you can sell it to them in the hiring process, you’ll find that career moves are not all about the money.