It’s not money. Well, it’s not JUST money. Beyond satisfying a basic level of financial comfort, money becomes a decreasingly important factor when choosing an employer.

As the economy pulls out of the downturn, many companies are boosting their hiring efforts in 2013. In Canada, there are large parts of the country that are already in a candidate shortage, couple this with the increase in hiring and you have a lot of choice out there for a highly-skilled job seeker.

If you’re looking to poach top talent, these days it takes a lot more than a fat pay check.

Let’s take a look at some of the other things that top the list of what employees really want at work –

“I want to work on what I’m passionate about”

Google’s 20 per cent time is one of the most famous examples of this in action. The cream of the crop value having time to pursue work projects that they are passionate about. It’s not only great for retention but also can be great for business; 20 per cent time led to the creation of the extremely popular Google Maps!

“I want to have flexible work arrangements”

Having autonomy and the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance is high on the list of wants for many employees. Focusing on results rather than hours at the desk can mean happy yet productive employees. Flexible work is highly ranked pretty much across the board as senior employees can use flex work to transition into retirement, Gen Xers can take time to accommodate their family and younger workers take advantage of technology to telecommute.

“I want to work with people I like”

When you spend 8 hours a day with the same people, you want to be damn sure you like them right? Working in a culture you enjoy with coworkers you like goes a long way to affecting employee happiness and retention.

“I want room to grow”

Gen Y in particular rank growth opportunities higher in importance than salary when considering job offers. Still early in their careers, Gen Y are very ambitious and expect to move through the ranks quickly, if not skip them altogether!

“I want to learn new things”

Despite popular belief, Baby Boomers aren’t just looking to cruise their way to retirement. All levels of employees are interested in expanding their knowledge and maintaining an up-to-date skill set. While it’s Gen Y who seek out mentorship and learning the most, older generations shouldn’t be neglected either – especially those who may need training with new technology.

Attracting, retaining and motivating top performers takes more than just money. And it’s not a one size fits all solution either. Managers should engage each employee on an individual level  and keep in mind that their drivers will change throughout their career.