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Uber Recently Gave Pay Raises, But Are They Enough to Keep Employees Around?

Compensation and work-life balance are both key to keeping workers happy.
Uber Recently Gave Pay Raises, But Are They Enough to Keep Employees Around?
Image credit: Uber | Shutterstock

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Since former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down in June after the results of an investigation into systemic harassment and discrimination at the company were made public, the noise around the perennially embattled business has quieted as it enters a rebuilding period.

After months of upheaval, Buzzfeed reported that thousands of Uber’s technical employees will receive pay increases, amid past complaints about the rate of compensation at the company.

Uber had to fire more than 20 employees due to the findings of the harassment probe, and a number of high-level roles -- chief among them, CEO and COO -- still need to be filled.

Related: The Rise and Fall of Uber and Travis Kalanick

So are these raises a way to reward those loyal employees who have weathered the storm, or is this simply a stop gap measure?

Workplace communication expert and Working Conversations founder Janel Anderson says when it comes to employee retention in a competitive labor market, raises are a good start, but salary bumps alone won’t change perceptions about the culture at large.

“People may feel short-term positive feelings initially, but after several months the adaptation has taken hold, resulting in no overall gain in individual satisfaction or morale," Anderson told Entrepreneur. "It is no different for Uber, where equity is already making employees feel like they're wearing golden handcuffs."

Related: Uber Needs to Recreate its Company Culture. Here's What You Can Learn From Its Mistakes.

Anderson notes that when employees decide to leave their jobs for another gig, the first thing that they consider is the compensation package, followed by work/life balance. That goes for baby boomer, generation X and millennial workers. And since the work/life balance element is perhaps going to be slower to change, compensation is the first move that the company is able to make.

“Uber, known for it's hard-driving corporate culture, like so many tech startups, isn't likely to change in the work/life balance category, so salary and benefits is the lever they have available to them to push,” Anderson says. “If Uber really wants to retain their employees, they are going to have to look beyond salary and benefits and address the culture -- and that starts with fostering healthy relationships within the organization.”