With prices rising, the job market wobbling and money increasingly tight, you'd have thought hanging on to your best and brightest workers would be simply a case of throwing more money at them. Think again.
A poll by U.S research company Vantage has concluded that far from wanting a pay raise (though they wouldn't say no), what staff value most is the occasional "thank you2 for a job well done, open and honest communication and feeling that they are involved in decision making.
The Vantage Research & Consulting CEO survey also found CEOs were most worried about revenue growth, hiring talented workers and, perhaps not surprisingly, cost containment.
They also genuinely believed that the people behind their product were as important as the product itself, with customers being only slightly more loyal to a company's products and services than they were to its employees.
To this end, cost was not the only factor that drove customer loyalty, they argued, even in tougher economic times.
In fact, to attract and retain customers, many chief executives insisted they would not be slashing prices but instead increasing service, product quality and "personal customer experiences".
"This latest survey shows that the number one business practice Ė open communication between management and employees Ė was mentioned nearly twice as frequently as receiving raises," pointed out Allan Hauptfeld, principal of Vantage Research & Consulting.
"Clearly, a work environment where employees are recognised as part of the team is more valuable than simply receiving a paycheck," he added.
The survey also showed the enormous value of motivating employees in non-monetary ways, said Lee Froschheiser, president and chief executive of Management Action Programs, which carried out the research.
"Sure, financial reward is important, but the CEOs we interviewed are choosing to motivate first through other key fundamental strategies," he explained.
"For example, creating a workplace culture that recognises employees for their professional contribution helps keep 'A' players from jumping ship.
"Personal growth is another huge motivator for staffers seeking more of a security blanket. Providing a clear career path for your workers, including clearly defined steps for advancement, also pays big dividends in terms of retaining talented employees," he continued.
"Most of all, clearly communicating the company's vision and mission, as well as making employees feel they're playing an important role in the business' overall success are among these CEO's top employee-retention strategies," Froschheiser concluded.