Is it all about the Money?

29th March 2017

Show me the money! The infamous line from the movie Jerry Maguire is what first springs to mind when someone asks me is it all about the money? Anyone who watched the movie will remember that the crux of the story was that it’s more than just being about the money. And outside of Hollywood the truth is the same; for most people their jobs are more than just their paycheck.

Words: Eavan Blackwell, Head of HR, Ding

I had a call yesterday to schedule an interview with a candidate. Before agreeing to do a first round phone screen he asked me two questions; what are the benefits and does Ding offer flexible working hours? Satisfied with the answer he agreed to do a call with one of my colleagues. That was uncommon ten years ago – it’s almost the norm now.

So what is important then if it’s not all about the money and what are women in particular looking for from their employers?

Flexible working hours is the first thing to roll off the tongue; not having set working hours that restrict you. The 9am – 5pm job should be a thing of the past. It doesn’t provide people with enough flexibility. What if you have crèche collection to do and your fixed hours don’t allow you to get there on time for collection? What if there’s an evening class you want to do but it means having to leave at 4.30pm once a week? At Ding we have core working hours where we say people should be in the office during these hours to facilitate meetings but other than that you can make up your working hours whatever way you want. It’s an honour system and we trust that people won’t muck it up for their colleagues. Does it work? Yes! It’s one of the most frequently cited “perks” that our team members love. Your job should allow you to live your life outside of work; it should not be your life.

Flexibility extends that little bit further too. Having an employer who understands that when the little one breaks a leg in crèche or when the elderly parent suffering from Alzheimer’s has gone missing that tools need to be downed immediately. This isn’t a time to have to request annual leave for the afternoon etc. These are extenuating circumstances that don’t need to be taken from annual leave entitlements. I can assure you the employer that facilitates these emergencies gets it back in spades from the employee. It works both ways.

At Ding we’re pretty typical for a Tech company. 40% of our staff are female and the average age of our female staff is 32. Well guess what, when you’re competing with the trendy Tech giants to hire incredible talent then you’ve got to realise that people vote with their feet. And with announcements almost weekly as to how many jobs are being created in this sector, the competition is fiercer than ever. Why should a female who wants to start a family stay in employment with you if she can take a job down the road in the trendy US tech firm that offers paid maternity leave? Your maternity leave policy could very well be encouraging female team members to leave a year or two before they plan their families to take up employment in other firms with better maternity leave policies. Is that a risk you want to take?

Again go that bit further. Don’t be restrictive with your policies for parents unless you have to be. Where possible facilitate the one day off a week, the shortened working hours etc. to allow people to juggle their priorities in life with their work. It’s incredible the loyalty you create in team members by facilitating these requests.

Then there’s your benefits programme. It’s not just about a pension anymore (although it’s still nice to have!). At Ding, we’ve found giving employees a choice works best. We let our team choose between healthcare (for them, their families or their housemates), gym membership, pension contributions and/or car parking. Then we add on a comprehensive yearly calendar of wellness and CSR events. Our own employees are now our best source of recommendations for inspirational speakers, charity ideas etc. They are excited and interested in the programmes we run for them and so when they come across ideas or people they are quick to let us know. Then again unfortunately we still have to turn down the requests for the permanent massage therapist, the hairdresser on site and an in-house crèche. We’re not there yet!

And finally there’s one thing that’s important for employees to remember. Creating additional perks and policies to facilitate Mums and Dads is a great idea but not all your staff are parents. Those that aren’t also need to be catered for. Make sure you don’t only benefit the parents and isolate others. It’s not just about the money for them either.