What’s in It for Me (WIIFM)

For today’s informed communal workforce, it’s not adequate to be satisfied with simply completing a job or task. Employees want to know that what they have done or are doing has not only been a positive contribution to the company but is also a valuable for their careers.

The average worker is now changing jobs more often than before. The reason is that many companies are not able to address the employees’ question “what’s in it for me”? The WIIFM attitude has become so widespread in the workforce and employers need to pay more attention to this. Rather than a problem the WIIFM question can be seen as an opportunity and used as a powerful win/win scenario for both company and employee. How?

The first pitfall to avoid is not to think that it is all about money. Of course if an employee is rewarded with a good raise or year-end bonus they may not leave but the effect is only temporary.

The Harvard Business Review indicates that the association between salary and job satisfaction is very weak.  In a  meta-analysis by Tim Judge and colleagues where the authors reviewed 120 years of research to synthesize the findings from 92 quantitative studies (the combined dataset included over 15,000 individuals and 115 correlation coefficients) it was reported that the correlation (r = .14) indicates that there is less than 2% overlap between pay and job satisfaction levels.

Furthermore, the correlation between pay and pay satisfaction was only marginally higher (r = .22 or 4.8% overlap), indicating that people’s satisfaction with their salary is mostly independent of their actual salary.

In another article the Top 5 reasons for people to leave a company are:

  • “I was offered a position with another company.”
  • “I am currently looking for a position better matched to my skills and long-term career goals.”
  • “I have other life goals which I want to accomplish.”
  • “I don’t like the “vibes” in the company.”
  • “I realised that the opportunity to grow in the company wasn’t available to me.”

A basic fundamental in human capital management that is sorely missing in many organisations is providing regular feedback to employees. Regular employee check-ins or appraisals will allow employees greater opportunities to learn and improve, and reduce the chances of a task going off-track or over-budget. Regular appraisals enhance communication with the employees. When employees appreciate the value of a task or job, they become more motivated. Not only will they complete their job on time but will also excel at it.

By Ezamshah Ismail, Senior Teaching Fellow

Share this post