Cant Buy Me Love

I dont care too much for moneymoney cant buy me love
Not quite the anthem for the upwardly mobile crop of software engineers powering
Indias software boom: theyre several generations younger than the Beatles.
Their employers, however, are a bit closer to the pop quartets vintage, and
realize that money cant buy them satisfaction, as the DQ-IDC Best Employers
Survey (BES) shows, again.

Forget overall employee satisfaction, top pay doesnt even
seem to buy satisfaction with pay. For the top 20 paymasters of the BES
2007, the correlation between salary rank and salary satisfaction rank
is nearly zero (.08, actually). For instance, top paymaster Cadence was #10 in
satisfaction with salary, while TCS, which is middling on the pay front (#13 in
salary rank) had satisfied employees (#4 in satisfaction with salary).

On the other hand, salary and compensation is the topmost
reason causing people to switch jobs (a score of 50), ahead of overseas
opportunities (34) and growth opportunity (33).

Clearly, salary cant be seen in isolation. Its part of a
basket of factors affecting employee satisfaction. For instance, TCS was #3 in
overall employee satisfaction. Its employees rate it highly on parameters like
culture, image, people, and job content. Thus the overall package is
satisfying, making the employees happier with the lower salary than they
otherwise would be.

Now, companies are clearly worried about the rising wage bill
reducing arbitrage gains. And about the rising rupee reducing their margins even
further. Some companies have been toying with moving to six-day-weeks to
increase billable hours, to counter the squeeze.

But heres something that doesnt come up as so obvious: the
direct impact of employee satisfaction on margins. A high degree of satisfaction
means lower attrition and better retention, without having to raise salaries to
the top bands in the industry. You cant go down too low because you may not
attract talent (unless you have the brand image of an Infosys), but at least youll
drop your costs vs other companies who are much lower on e-sat, and have
to compensate with higher salaries.

Take HCL Infosystems, which topped employee satisfaction in the
BES2007 survey, and was #2 in the overall BES scores. Yet it does not even
feature in the top 20 paymasters. HCL is able to compensate for a lower salary
with an overall package that is satisfying to employees. For the record, its
salary rank is #23, which means 22 companies in the BES2007 list pay better than
HCL. But its salary satisfaction rank is an impressive #1, a joint
position with RMSI! With lower than average salaries, HCL Insys is top of the
charts on employee satisfaction with salary. Way to go!

Prasanto K Roy

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