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Secure Top Talent Without Offering More Salary (Part 1)

By: Jeremy Eskenazi —

Hiring in North America can be challenging. Top candidates have been able to negotiate great packages for themselves as some get multiple offers. As you start looking for the next superstar to further your company’s goals, deciding how hard you can compete for talent is important. While there are trends making candidate relationship-building easier–such as text communication to schedule interviews or being able to offer more flexibility to the work schedule for some roles—money is still a primary driver for candidates.

An important lesson many learn is that salary has traditionally been king. And this king is powerful because it compounds year over year on your list of expenses. Not every company can spend more now, but every company wants to attract and retain the best talent for their team. This is where the candidate experience and your employer brand can be a strategic differentiator as you explore your flexibility to spend money. If we go back to cash being king for a moment, it’s important to remember that people don’t come to work just for money. Everyone wants to feel valued and work on interesting things for a great brand. As you think about experience, there are a few ways to minimize the amount of extra cash you need to help candidates consider your company over others.

Understanding one-time costs versus compounding costs is a good starting point. If you can give someone an upfront, one-time cash bonus, it will save your company money year-over-year compared to a larger starting salary. When you get into their second year of employment, having to raise salary by a percentage compounds the cost and can add much more to your operating costs than a one-time payment. Even hourly employees in lower earning roles that are in high demand can be swayed with small cash bonus up front to help you gain a competitive advantage.

As you approach your budget and talent needs for the next few quarters, you may find you have less flexibility to offer bigger salaries to help you win the talent war. While everything has some cost, there are alternative areas you can invest in that cost much less and will not steadily rise like a salary does. Here are eight of them that might help you:

1. Offering flexibility – Whether it is the start and end time of the workday, a compressed work week, or the offer to work from home at times, these are all coveted offerings. If the job allows for flexibility, it’s worth considering.

2. Covering perks – There are tons of creative offerings that matter to employees and are often available at a small cost. A few examples are: subsidies for public transit, extra uniforms included on the company, meal services at work or delivered to the household, a monthly budget to use ride-sharing services instead of commuting, free or discounted laundry/dry cleaning, popular gym or lifestyle club memberships or discounts.

3. Job sharing or part time work – Many people have their own reasons for wanting to work less than full time. Offering part time or job-sharing options where two people perform what was once a full-time job can give you more coverage in talent and attract some amazing candidates who wouldn’t otherwise be interested.

In Part 2 of  Secure Top Talent Without Offering More Salary, expert  Jeremy Eskenazi concludes with additional creative ways to enhance your workforce.

Read Part 2 Here


Jeremy Eskenazi is an internationally recognized speaker, author of RecruitConsult! Leadership, and founder of Riviera Advisors, a boutique Recruitment/Talent Acquisition Management and Optimization Consulting Firm. Jeremy is not a headhunter, but a specialized training and consulting professional, helping global HR leaders transform how they attract top talent at some of the world’s most recognized companies. For more information on Jeremy Eskenazi, please visit: