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Top workplaces 2014: Las Vegans place importance on connecting with their company

Employees at Las Vegas’ leading firms small and large place a greater premium on a connection with their company and its direction than on pay and benefits when it comes to rating it as a top workplace.

That’s the result of a 2014 workplace survey of 54 companies conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, a Pennsylvania consulting firm that helps companies create a place where people want to work.

More than 12,000 employees who responded to the survey found being appreciated at one’s company to have an importance rating of 71 percent, up from 68 percent last year. The direction one’s company is headed was rated with 72 percent importance, up from 70 percent last year.

Seventy-eight percent ranked connection with the company a priority, while 77 percent said direction was most important.

That’s part of a trend that showed employees who participated in the survey rated all 22 factors in their company slightly higher than a year ago, says Niki Reid, a data scientist for WorkplaceDynamics.

“I think that’s an indicator of a stronger job market when you see increases across the board,” Reid says. “People care about a greater number of issues now than when the job market is weak. They are happy to bring home a paycheck then, but when the job market improves, they think more about what they want in a job.”

A strong benefits package, work-life flexibility, having a helpful manager and having a manager concerned with employee development achieved the largest year-over-year gains in importance, Reid says.

Pay and benefits were cited as important by 45 percent in the survey. When asked if their pay is fair for the work they do, 40 percent said it was important, up from 35 percent last year. When it comes to their benefits package, 33 percent said it was important, compared with 27 percent last year.

Reid says it’s not unusual for these things to rank low on the importance scale, but what makes Las Vegas different is that they are deemed less important here than in the nation as a whole.

Nationally, 46 percent of employees surveyed placed importance on pay compared with 40 percent in Las Vegas.

“In Las Vegas, doing things efficiently, being well-informed about important decisions and having confidence in the leader of the company stood out as being more important in predicting how employees felt overall about their workplace when compared with the 39 other major metro areas,” Reid says.

Reid says it’s impossible to say why Las Vegas workers don’t place such a premium on pay. They may place greater emphasis on the direction of the company because of the economic downturn in Las Vegas, she says.

“Everything else is viewed more important and for Las Vegas employees, money doesn’t motivate them as much,” Reid says. “What you see is a more extreme version of other regions.”

In the Las Vegas survey, 47 percent of workers say flexibility and work-life balance are more important compared with 41 percent last year.

Compared with last year, there was a 6 percent increase in how employees rated their managers, while 67 percent cited the importance of being part of something meaningful, up from 65 percent.

“Paying people more doesn’t make them become more motivated or more engaged,” Reid says. “We believe employees seek greater meaning out of their jobs and want to feel they are contributing to the greater good and not that they’re doing meaningless work. They spend so much time at work, they want to make sure they’re doing things well, and they’re helping the company move in the right direction.”