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What to do when a 3% raise just won’t do!

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Detroit region has risen from a 1% annual increase to a 3% annual increase in the past two years. As the general Cost-of-Living has increased for employees consistently, wages have remained stagnant for the past 10 years leaving employees to tread water financially. In order to attract and retain employees in a competitive market, employers must be proactive in ensuring that employee wages increase at a rate faster than the general cost-of-living increases.

Companies must take basic Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) data into consideration while also considering the competitiveness of their salaries compared to other companies. In 2019, employers must provide 3% in order to simply meet the anticipated increase in living expenses for the region.

For companies that do not have the financial resources to increase wages at a rate that exceeds basic COLA standards, EctoHR, Inc. encourages its clients to consider the following creative alternatives for low-cost employee benefits.

  1. Flexible work schedules – EctoHR, Inc. recently implemented a Flexible Work Arrangement with its team. While this change requires communication and some sacrifice, employees respond very favorably and employers do not have to spend a single dollar to implement this change.
  2. On-the-job training or tuition reimbursement – This option not only attracts new employees, but also entices current employees to grow within their position, sharpen their skills and remain loyal to the company. EctoHR always recommends including a “retention” clause to any tuition reimbursement agreement for employees.
  3. Showing appreciation – Encourage members of leadership to give employees positive feedback and recognition. Employees who are valued and noticed are generally happier and more productive, and less likely to seek out other employment opportunities based on salary or benefits.

For additional ideas of proven, low-cost employee retention strategies, or for assistance in researching job and industry-specific wage data, contact an HR professional at 810-534-0170 or at

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