Tess C. Taylor, PHR, The HR Writer
Managing all the unique responsibilities of a remote workforce is challenging enough. Staying on top of compensation is an entirely different matter. With some 30-45 percent of the adult global workforce working from home at least part of the time, employers must be able to find ways to handle the demands of compensation administration in a modern world. (Source: Forbes) Companies are increasingly turning to outsourced labor pools too, using above average compensation strategies and attractive benefit programs to reel in the best talent.
Benefits and Compensation Management in the Age of the Remote Worker
Fortunately, there are a number of ways that the human resource department can handle payroll, benefit, and incentive programs – all of which are an important aspect of using virtual employees and contractors. Learn how to get a handle on the new way people work with these helpful tips.
- Provide a detailed, but easy to understand compensation orientation
When engaged in onboarding new hires, and periodically throughout the year, it’s critical to give your remote workers as much information as possible about their available benefits and compensation. This means you will want to provide a formal introduction to your payroll policies and benefits offerings. For remote workers, use written documentation as well as an orientation session delivered via webinar.
- Use a trusted source of compensation data with user tools
What good is a compensation program without current and accurate information about the salary and benefits you should be offering to your remote workers? Do not assume that just because they work outside the office that they will accept mediocre pay and little to no incentives. Use the best data and offer something more than the competition offers.
- Give remote workers online access to payroll and benefits information
When you cannot be available to speak to about benefits and payroll, make sure you have a way for employees to access this information on demand. A web-based payroll and benefits platform can give your remote workers the information they need to make informed decisions about their health and finances.
- Remind virtual workers of their responsibility to communicate changes
It can become frustrating to deal with virtual employees who are not always available at their desks or are in different time zones. However, as part of your compensation communications, make sure you make it clear that all employees are responsible for reporting changes to their status, their family, and their contact information. Give them an online form to do this.
- Deliver corporate compensation updates in several formats
Oftentimes, people who work remotely do not get the message that an important change is about to happen in terms of their benefits or payroll. HR may not get the information out in time for busy virtual staff to see. Make sure you are delivering this information in advance and via several online and print formats so they get this.
- Automate compensation management, payroll services and third-party benefit solutions
As much as possible, to ease the extra work of connecting with your remote staffers, make your compensation management, payroll and benefit programs automated. Use software tools like PayScale’s Insight to manage the compensation data for your workplace. Set up systems for capturing new hire data and initiating benefits and payment to new virtual workers. Use systems that honor the difference between employee and contractor compensation requirements.
- Assign a central payroll and benefits team for live employee support
Communication is key when managing remote employees. Make sure you have a person available to take calls and make updates to employee records around the clock. Use a central answering line dedicated to this area of human resources. Educate all team members on any unique benefits or perks assigned to virtual employees so they can answer questions well.
As you learn to better handle the challenges of your remote workforce, the above steps can help streamline things so you can focus on other benefits of using this type of work arrangement.