Business

Best employers: It’s not about perks

Only three per cent of those working for Canada’s 50 Best Employers rank work-life balance or benefits among what matters most

Lisa Ballum knows it sounds cheesy, but there’s a simple reason she’s worked at Delta Hotels for 13 years: “Your voice is heard,” she says. “It really does matter.”

Ballum, who wanted to be a teacher, never envisioned a career at a hotel chain. But after working part-time at a Delta front desk as a York University student, she never looked back, and now works in marketing at the company’s corporate headquarters. At Delta, “you can choose your own destiny,” says Ballum. “That’s what’s kept me around.”

Notice that Ballum doesn’t gloat about retirement benefits, or having the flexibility to work from home. Perks, it turns out, matter little. Only three per cent of those working for Canada’s 50 Best Employers rank work-life balance or benefits among what matters most; 90 per cent, however, chose “recognition” and “career opportunities.”

“There’s a lot of people who say people are going to be more engaged if we pay them more,” says Aon Hewitt’s Neil Crawford. “But the data show that it’s actually fixing the other stuff that’s far more important.”

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