Median base salaries are expected to tick up 3 percent this year, according to research released Monday by Hay Group, a management consulting firm. However, if you factor consumer price index growth, employees will only see a 0.8 percent net gain.

For an employee making $35,000 a year, that's a subtle $23 more per paycheck.

But as I always say, a raise is a raise, and it should be appreciated. Yet, judging by the latest figures on employee retention and morale, a modest salary increase is only a fraction of the effort needed to keep employees happy – and more importantly, keep them loyal.

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