The COVID-19 pandemic prompted millions of people to reconsider their careers, which has had a profound effect on the labor market. The U.S. Department of Labor notes that 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November 2021, resulting in a record-high number of job openings.

While many individuals have made positive changes, employers are now learning about the importance of engaging their employees, and wondering what they can do to attract qualified and talented candidates. A recent Gallup poll found that when employees are disengaged, companies experience 16 percent lower profitability, 18 percent lower productivity, and 37 percent lower job growth.

No two employees are the same, making it impossible for employers to ensure that everyone is suddenly engaged and satisfied with their jobs and career prospects. However, recognizing what employees value most could help businesses retain workers longer and keep them engaged. A recent survey of 540 full-time employees from the market insight firm Clutch found that the most important workplace values for full-time employees are fair pay and fair treatment. It’s no surprise that compensation bears such significance, as pandemic-related inflation and global conflicts have led to rising costs on everything from food to fuel.

However, another survey by risk management experts found a disconnect between what employers and employees thought about the importance of fair pay and its relation to workplace stress, with employers placing more significance on other issues. In fact, employees say low pay is the second greatest source of workplace stress. The surveys confirm that employers concerned about staff dissatisfaction and the effects of disengaged employees on their bottom lines, should make more of an effort to revisit their compensation policies to reengage and retain employees.