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4 things employees want more than a raise in 2023

Shivangi Gautam

Last Updated: 3 November 2022

Think your employees are quitting because they want a pay rise? Think again. 

India recorded the highest salary increase of 10.6% in 2022 across the world. And yet our data shows that there has been a 112% increase in attrition at organizations since 2022. Add to that, 50% of employees who left an organization in 2021-22 were in their first year of tenure. For larger organizations, this number was 70%.

This data paints a revealing picture: money is no longer the driving force for employees to stay at a job.

So we decided to dig in a bit deeper and find out what is it that employees actually want. We went through 110K+ employee responses to Amber and found four things that employees value more than money. 

The results will surprise you, but the good news is you can use these insights to improve your employee engagement and retention strategy.

Here’s what your employees want!

A heads-up: Amber score is a metric that is used to track and understand employee satisfaction with a particular element. On a scale of one to hundred, 100 indicates most satisfaction.

1. Sense of Belongingness 

Amber score: 74/100

Sense of Belonging ranks number one among worrying concerns that employees face in their organizations.

In a culture of belonging within the organization, everyone wins! Social belonging is a human need. Feeling "high belonging" at your company leads to greater work engagement, employee retention, and company loyalty.

Inclusivity is not just a management watchword

An important prerequisite of belonging is sustainable DEI initiatives carried out by organizations. Gartner's research shows that organizations with sustainable DEI initiatives demonstrate a 20% increase in inclusion, which corresponds to greater on-the-job effort and intent to stay, as well as high employee performance. 

So, If you think inclusivity is just a management watchword, think again.

As an example, Amber finds that women are more likely to feel disconnected from their organization as compared to their male counterparts.


Male employees have reported a heightened sense of belongingness with the organization than female employees.

(Element score - out of 100)

Employees are feeling disconnected from their organization

In her candid conversation with employees, Amber finds that an average employee’s clarity of the Organization’s Vision and Mission has also decreased by 4 points from 2020 in comparison to 2022

The pandemic has worsened the employee-employer relationship by isolating employees.


Clarity of the Organization’s Vision and Mission

(Element score - out of 100)


2.  Career Growth Satisfaction 

Amber Score: 73/100

Career Growth & Satisfaction ranks number two among worrying concerns that employees face in their organizations

Amber suggests that engaged employees in the organization are 33% more satisfied with their career advancement and developmental opportunities within the organization than unengaged employees.


My Career and Learning

(Element score - out of 100)


Identifying talent and nurturing them can have a direct impact on an organization’s employee engagement and retention strategy. 

IT employers, watch out for your employees

Employees in the IT sector have reported the least satisfaction with the role they are performing at their organization, while they continue to draw handsome salaries. Organizations should focus on career development programs to control attrition in IT.

(Element score - out of 100)

Take a cue from a leading tech company, Lenovo, as their CHRO, Rohit Sandal reveals how they successfully engaged 90% of their employees.

3. Performance Management Process/metrics 

Amber Score: 76/100

Performance Management Process & Metrics ranks number three among worrying concerns that employees face in their organizations.

With the new model of working, performance metrics need to be reimagined to be equitable and fair for all employees in any work setting. 

Rethinking performance evaluation for a new age workforce

The disparity and inconsistency in measuring performance that existed pre-COVID-19 has only amplified post-COVID. This widening gap can often be attributed to discrepancies in leadership styles and belief systems. Every performance metric must be put to test of relevance for fully remote, in-person, and hybrid employees. 

4. Benefits and Policies - 79/100

Amber Score: 79/100

Benefits and Policies rank number four among worrying concerns that employees face in their organizations.

Amber suggests that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach toward providing flexibility and policies to employees. Flexibility could mean vaguely different things to different employees. Take a look at this data, for instance:

Tenured employees are dissatisfied with their work

As employees get older in the organization, dissatisfaction with their work benefits increases.

(Element score - out of 100)


Yet again, IT folks need new benefits programs!

(Element score - out of 100)

It’s clear - expanding hybrid workplace benefits entails more than sharing tool kits, surveys, or deploying more people management software.

Look beyond Financial Incentives!

Amber’s data coupled with numerous studies suggest concluded that for people with satisfactory salaries, some nonfinancial motivators are more effective than extra cash for building long-term engagement. So, when you think your employee is disengaged, here’s what you can do along with doubling down their paychecks.

Deliver purpose and meaning instead of transactional benefits:

Organizations can instill a sense of purpose in their employees by establishing a common vision and mission, as and fostering a sense of community in the workplace. 

For example, Starbuck's mission statement reads, “Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” This statement suggests a shared purpose and its purpose is achieved along with its customers and it also gives employees a sense of identity.

Employees gravitate toward supportive work cultures that will help them grow.

Give career growth opportunities to close skill gaps

Here’s how you can help your people grow:

  • Empower and train managers to have meaningful 1:1s to discuss and help employees reflect on professional development instead of operational performance
  • Take a cue from “Spotify Growth Incubator,” where employees and managers attend a workshop on how to grow new, more in-depth skills to meet the organization’s future requirements.
  • Encourage peer learning structures by making the best use of strong interpersonal relations among employees to foster learning
  • Provide sufficient opportunities for virtual upskilling and conferences for continued learning.

Reimagine flexibility for your employees

Flex schedules can be introduced in which employees do not have a set eight-hour work schedules, and are not expected to come into the office daily. Working parents and employees taking care of the elderly should have flexibility in terms of working hours. This can be done by introducing staggering shifts and rotating days or weeks for in-office presence.

Take inspiration from these employers who implement a four-day workweek of 10-hour days for a better work-life balance.

Build a Psychological Contract with employees 

The psychological contract refers to the unwritten, intangible agreement between an employee and their employer that describes the informal commitments, expectations, and understandings that make up their relationship. It plays an important role when it comes to day-to-day work. 

Here’s our thumb rule to build and sustain psychological contract:

  • Set realistic expectations by communicating with the employees in routine meetings, and informal chats
  • Create psychological safety among employees to help them voice their concerns.

But most importantly, listen to your employees!

Listen to your employees regularly about their experiences, needs, and well-being. Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Looking for a Chief Listening Officer at work? Amber can help. 

Sign up for a quick no-strings-attached product demo!

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