Being a member of the very special cult of HR leaves you inculcated with the philosophy that people stay in their jobs because of workplace relationships, specifically the one you have with your immediate supervisor, and compensation plays second fiddle. I suspect this comes from the Personnel Board God who whispersdivine inspirational kumbayain the CEO's ear.

The SHRM 2009 Employee Job Satisfaction research report (you need to be a member to see it, so if you're not one you'll have to trust me on this) clearly bursts the idyllicprecept that compensation is secondary. Since SHRM didn't askmoi for validation of their work and due to my naturally distrustingnature, I decided to do my own informal research. I'll share later.

What's going on, you might ask? Are HR types out of touch with the employed? After all, they are employees too.

From the perspective of employees who participated in the survey, the top 5 very important factors in job satisfaction are:

  1. Job security
  2. Benefits
  3. Compensation/pay
  4. Opportunities to use skills and abilities
  5. Feeling safe in the work environment

HR professionals have a different view:

  1. Relationship with immediate supervisor
  2. Benefits
  3. Communication between employees and senior management
  4. Opportunities to use skills and abilities
  5. Management recognition of employee job performance

HR professionals ranked compensation/pay 8th in importance on the rating scale of the 24 mostimportant factors in job satisfaction. In fact, benefits and opportunities to use skills and abilities were the only factors that made the top 5 for both groups.

It begs clarification to answer why we as HR professionals are not on the same page as those whose employment satisfaction is entrusted to us. Does our allegiance and ethic have us towing the corporate line as good HR professionals even in anonymous surveys or have we become jaded into believing that giving people opportunities for development and then petting them for a job well done is what it's all about? At the same time, in a profession that is often considered back officeadministrative "support", are we simply justifying theoften mediocresalary unfitting of carrying the burdens of the company and lacking the glamor of other flashier positions. Why don't we feel like other employees do in regard to compensation? Do we have professional character flaws or more exceptional ethic or characteristics?

I'm pointing this out and asking these questions because I think it's important for us to monitor and challenge ourselves as much as we do others in our charge. In fact, it's our obligation to do so. There's no recommendation here, just room for discussion.

Now about that informal (and completely unscientific) research I conducted. I sent out the following tweet:

What's more important on the job, the boss or the comp?

In the span of a few minutes I received 9 responses. One tweep was clearly consternated at having to make a decision and required a few prodding follow-up questions. Of the respondents, 5 were HR/Recruiters and 4 work in varied other professions. It's only fair to mention I follow and am followed a largely Recruiter/HR crowd.

HR Recruiters - 3 of 5 (60%) said a good boss is more important than salary.

Others - It was 50/50 with 2 voting for the boss and the other 2 for the compensation. The consternated tweep was in this group and said the boss wins and you can always find a way to earn extra income.

What do you say?


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