Compensation vs. Culture


Does pay really matter? We’d like to think work motivation is about more than the paycheck. Sure, many people want to have a career where they can make a difference, find fulfilment, and develop professionally. There is plenty of emphasis in HR on company culture when discussing recruitment and retention strategies.

Agricultural employers reported in the 2022-2023 Agriculture and Food HR Review they are using a positive work culture as the top method to compete against other employers.

If an employee feels they fit in, connects with the company’s mission, and finds the workplace positive, they are more likely to stay. However, staff can start feeling under­valued if the compensation isn’t competitive or they receive insufficient pay raises — that is when a fabulous company culture alone won’t be enough to keep employees.

Compensation Spotlight

Pay is important to employees, and AgCa­ heard it directly from the source. When we surveyed candidates and employees in the 2022 Benefits Survey about what fac­tor had the most influence on their choice of an employer, the salary/compensation pack­age was at the top. We also asked participants what would influence them to leave their cur­rent job for a new one, and you guessed it — higher compensation was the most popular answer.

Dealerships need talented employees that are invested in the business. Likewise, employ­ers need to invest in their employees to recruit and retain them. When asked what HR matter their employer should concentrate on, our fol­lowers responded that pay/salary was at the top of the list, boasting a double-digit lead over professional development, company culture, and diversity, equity & inclusion.

The tight labor market has resulted in var­ious compensation issues that employers must tackle head on. Agricultural employers sur­veyed for the HR Review were most concerned about rising wage rates. The second most common compensation concern was how to quickly adapt to changing mar­ket rates.

There are obvious positive implications for candidates and employees as more organiza­tions navigate the market with salary increas­es. Looking back at the last year, more employ­ers indicated salaries had increased compared to the prior twelve months. The likelihood of salary increases in the next year is also rising; in previous years, employers have been modest with their salary increase budget predictions.

Compensation is also the top priority in employers’ recruitment strategies. Agricultur­al employers participating in the HR Review noted that their number one method of at­tracting new talent was a higher starting pay for new employees.

Beyond the reoccurring paycheck, allow­ances and reimbursements are a valued sup­plement to an employee’s income. Agricul­tural employers report that the most frequent reimbursement offered is for certification & training expenses, followed by a cell phone reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement and vehicle allowances are also common supple­ments. Looking specifically at allowances im­pacting the recruitment process, over 20% of agricultural employers paid relocation ex­penses.

Competing with Compensation

So, you want to compete and ensure you’re not only hiring but also keeping the best tal­ent? Salary benchmarking allows employ­ers to see how their pay measures up to oth­ers. offers the Compensation Benchmark Review, a trusted, confidential sal­ary benchmarking tool exclusive to the agri­culture and food industries. This tool allows equipment dealers to compare their compen­sation programs with other agricultural em­ployers and equipment dealers by variables such as location or level of employment.

To find out more about the Compensation Benchmark Review, visit: or email

 It pays to review your employees’ compensation.

BONNIE JOHNSON has more than twenty years of professional marketing experience, including nine years with As a marketing specialist, she supports the team and brand through marketing and communications efforts. This includes internal and external communications, email marketing, company branding, market research, and data analysis. Please send questions and/or comments to


About Author

Leave A Reply

one × two =