Article: Rewards vs Culture: What’s the preference of Indian Millennials & GenZ?

Benefits & Rewards

Rewards vs Culture: What’s the preference of Indian Millennials & GenZ?

While compensation can help individuals afford the lifestyle they need for a fulfilled life, the marginal utility of money stops after a certain level.
Rewards vs Culture: What’s the preference of Indian Millennials & GenZ?


According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, wages are a part of the ‘deficiency’ demands of an individual. This means that compensation serves as a measure of security, and individuals will feel unfulfilled in their need for safety until they have it. Rewards & bonuses, on the other hand, serve to fulfil the needs for self-esteem. 

While compensation can help individuals afford the lifestyle they need for a fulfilled life, the marginal utility of money stops after a certain level. For young employees today, monetary rewards in terms of salary hikes and bonuses are strong motivators. However, they also want a supportive and positive workplace, employee engagement, and empowering organizational culture. So, what does the young working generation value more?

Monetary v/s non-monetary benefits

Given the impact of the recent pandemic, Gen Z is most likely to value money over other considerations as they step into entry-level jobs, a sentiment that is closely aligned to older generations. However, while compensation is a primary consideration, it is not the only criteria young employees look for in employers. After compensation, the next questions employees ask today are about employee engagement, morale, flexibility, and work atmosphere conducive to productivity. 

Most employees, especially those with experience, take a long-term perspective of their career growth and realise the strong interconnectedness between a nurturing workplace, professional growth, and higher compensation in the long run. They understand that learning and growth is not just a function of experiences and skills, but also how much exposure they will receive at work. In fact, a global Gallup poll found that employees rank ‘caring about employee well-being’ as one of their top three criteria, across workforce generations. Diversity and inclusion, equity, and ethical corporate behaviour are important to people - they want a good job, and a life well-lived. 

Expectations of the workforce across APAC region

Workforce diversity in particular is gaining recognition across the globe for the growth benefits it provides. A diverse workforce often leads to improved creativity and the creation of better products and services that lead to an improved customer experience. The thought of working with people from different backgrounds sounds appealing to incumbents because it affords a greater number of perspectives and ultimately, greater team and organisational success.

Another key factor that determines the satisfaction quotient of employees in an organisation is the work environment which although it is an intangible incentive but is extremely crucial to consider. According to the 2020 APAC Workforce Insights by Persolkelly, 57% of the responding workforce believes that a pleasant working environment is the top driver of happiness for them. However, the perks and benefits available to the employees also have to be factored in.

According to the study, 69% of the respondents want benefits packages that are tailored to their individual needs. This describes that the employee needs and wants have evolved over years and the global pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in the number of employees seeking tangible and intangible benefits.

Upskilling of employees for organisational growth 

In today’s fast-changing world, a major concern of employees is staying up-to-date in their industry and ensuring that their skills are not rendered obsolete. The current workforce is eager to expand knowledge for professional growth by upskilling themselves. It is widely accepted that in most fields – especially tech and data fields – people need to constantly upskill to stay on top of the game. Therefore, they look for organizations that are invested in upskilling their workforce. This not only ensures the implementation of best practices by focusing on the individual development of the employees but also develops a sense of belongingness to the organization. This line of thought is backed by the fact that a PWC study found that millennials in the APAC region are focused on personal as well as professional development. 

A common misconception among companies is that work-life balance and pay are the only two driving factors for workforce satisfaction. The truth is that the organisational culture has to have a clear focus on employee well-being, and this will reflect in all aspects – pay scale, rewards, flexibility, investment in employees, team culture, and others. Many factors - employee focussed culture, fair compensation, good leadership, etc. work in tandem to deliver the best possible employee experience – and that is exactly what the youth wants today. Cash incentives, as well as non-monetary incentives, can attract talent, promote motivation & increase productivity. However, employee focussed office culture will create loyalty and help to retain talent, engaging them in the way they want. It ensures that employees are not just happy at work, but they are willing to walk that extra mile to give their best shot at the office.

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Topics: Benefits & Rewards, Compensation & Benefits, #Career

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