ORIENTATION : Employee remuneration is a key driver of employee engagement and thus
organisational performance. A thorough understanding of employee needs is essential to
enable management to develop an equitable mix in reward strategy.
RESEARCH PURPOSE : The purpose of this study was to examine context-specific reward
preferences in order to determine the overall reward preferences of employees in the media
industry with the aim of improving existing reward strategies.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : The focus on reward preferences has emerged as a critical element
in identifying what really motivates productive behaviour within the workplace. A better
understanding of reward preferences is required to find ways to improve performance within
the world of work.
RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD : The research was a quantitative, empirical and
descriptive study of reward preferences in an industry-specific context. A self-administered
survey was used as a measure and analysed using non-parametric tests to identify variances
between dependent and independent groups, testing for internal consistency and nonparametric
analysis of variance (ANOVA).
MAIN FINDINGS : The following five reward preferences were rated as most important by
participants: base pay or salary, merit increase that is linked to personal performance, incentives and bonus, safety and security at the workplace, and market-related salary. The results
indicated that monthly salary (base pay) is the most preferred and/or significant reward
category in attracting, retaining and motivating employees.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : Managers in South Africa’s media industry should
investigate their organisations’ rewards through the perspective of the total rewards concept
to assess and develop an equitable mix in reward strategy. A comprehensive analysis of reward
preferences is required to ensure that all aspects that promote the attraction, retention and
motivation of employees are taken into consideration. The importance of base pay should not
be under-estimated as it represents the most significant reward preference for employees in
the South African media industry.
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD : This study adds to the body of social science research, providing a
deeper understanding of reward preferences, specifically in the context-specific setting.