The Dark Side of Total Compensation Communication

The dark side of communicating total compensation doesn’t exist at all – only the resistance of change within organizations where there is no method of delivering this information. The 2015 PayScale Compensation Best Practices Report indicated that 57 percent of employers don’t give their employees a total rewards statement, which means many employees are clueless when it comes to understanding the total value of the benefits and compensation offered to them. It’s not surprising that employees often have the misconception that they are underpaid, unappreciated, and that the competition has something better to offer—like Luke Skywalker being tempted by his father, Darth Vader, to join the dark force.“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” – Yoda

The real problem here is that far too many HR folks find it difficult, if not intimidating, to discuss total compensation. It can be worrisome to be transparent about the salary and benefits offered because we know that employees are shopping around. HR may think that it’s impossible to make employees understand the value of benefits like stocks, health insurance, and other less tangible perks. But armed with the knowledge that the PayScale Compensation Best Practices Report gives us, it’s possible to enter into a dialogue with employees centered on facts, not fear.


“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

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In Return of the Jedi, the great Jedi, Obi-Wan advised Luke that “truth” is merely a state of mind. What we believe to be true can become reality, but it’s all about perspective. Human Resources professionals may not think that displaying benefits and compensation information will have that big of an impact on employee retention and performance rates, therefore they skip this step.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

This classic Star Wars quote speaks to the internal ability that everyone has to manifest great things on externally. This relates to those who work in human resources and compensation management in that it’s up to us to take a seat at the executive table and create impact through compensation policies that include total compensation statements. HR does not have to simply try to make things happen, we need to do what it takes to change things for the better. 

May the Force Be with You!


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