In today's marketplace, retaining employees takes a lot more than just paying them well, according to a new study from Weber Shandwick's management consultancy unit United Minds.

While a bigger paycheck certainly doesn't hurt, a positive work environment, job security and trustworthy peers come out ahead of competitive salary and benefits in The Contribution Effect, a survey of 2,800 employees across seven countries.

The study also finds that employees place a big premium on being valued. "I feel appreciated for my contributions" was named a top factor in predicting employee satisfaction, as was "I feel motivated or energized to do my best work."

However, a sizeable number of respondents say they are not receiving that motivation in their workplaces. Almost a third (30 percent) do not think their manager is committed to their success, with almost as many (29 percent) saying they are not getting enough feedback to keep improving.

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While COVID has made the ability to work from home a high-profile perk, it placed surprisingly low (#58 out of 79 factors) on the list for survey respondents. Much more important to them: achieving work/life balance, which came out at #5.

Inequality in the workplace remains a major problem, according to the study. One in three survey respondents said they had experienced unfair treatment, including discrimination and harassment at work. Of those employees, one-third said they were less likely to be satisfied with their organization and less likely to advocate for it or rank it highly.

Addressing these issues is a major priority for employers. Almost half of executives surveyed said that hiring and retention are a top threat to businesses. It's also a concern regarding a company's bottom line since the costs to replace an employee can run from 30 percent to 400 percent of salary.

The study says there are several "non-negotiable" factors that must be considered to move the level of employee satisfaction forward: Setting strong ethical standards that are publicly upheld; ensuring clear and timely communications around organizational changes; and committing to improving diversity, equity and inclusion.

Making those improvements requires an effort from all levels of an organization, the study concludes. "Leaders are still accountable for setting the right people policies and leading by example," the study notes. "But it's also up to managers to appreciate and motivate their teams."