How Do You Communicate a Total Rewards Package?

This is an excerpt from our new ebook collaboration with BambooHR, “Your Total Rewards Questions: Answered.” The ebook is based on a panel discussion in which industry thought leaders offered their insights and tips on the biggest, most frequent concerns around total rewards. Get the full publication here.

Communicating compensation is a notoriously tricky task (but it doesn’t have to be!), so speaking to your full rewards offering can compound the difficulty. Here are some tips:

Lay All Your Cards on the Table

Don’t make the all too common mistake of equating “rewards” with “pay;” as mentioned above, your rewards are so much more than that! They include career development and training, recognition programs, work-life balance practices and policies … People typically have the mindset that they’re doing a job, and their company is paying them to do it, and that’s it — and they overlook the total investment the employer is making in them.

Highlight what your company is doing to support employees beyond their paychecks. When you do this, employees tend to have a “wow” moment, as in “Wow, I’ve never thought about it this way.” And when folks recognize you’re investing in them, there’s a far greater chance they’ll feel an emotional connection to the company, and want to return the investment.

Start General, but Get Personal

A good structure for your conversations about total rewards is beginning with the more general items — your company rewards philosophy, compensation strategy, data sources and methodology, etc. — and then bringing it to a personal level. The personal part is about what you can think of as “value drivers.” Compensation is a two-way exchange of value between employees and their employer, and every employee has a unique value system.

To effectively communicate your total rewards, you need to understand each employee’s value drivers  — autonomy, flexibility, PTO, whatever they are — and tailor your message to map to those values. In other words, highlight what you’re doing or offering that they care deeply about (and if you don’t know what’s most important to them, ask!). Communicating this way will help your message resonate.

Note: What an individual cares about may surprise you. BambooHR research found that a majority of people would rather get an email from their boss acknowledging a job well done than a $5,000 bonus! Don’t make assumptions; find out what’s important.

Be Rigorous About Data, Details and Documentation

Tailor these recommendations to fit your organization’s preferred level of transparency, but in general: Have a specific, detailed compensation philosophy and strategy, document them, and speak to them often. Explain how, when and why the company makes rewards decisions like it does, and have a plan for talking about these things regularly (from one-on-one conversations to all-hands meetings, whatever makes sense for your organization).

Outline your approach to gathering and using data (which both provides clarity and eases any suspicion that there’s bias at play). Leave no ambiguity as to how individuals can increase their own earning potential. Lay it out for them. And: Provide a total rewards statement! Whether that’s a report you generate from your compensation software, or even a simple spreadsheet or Word document, create something that lists out the rewards each employee is receiving. It’s pretty powerful to see it in that format.

Provide Manager Training

The 2017 Compensation Best Practices Report (CBPR) found that only 19 percent of companies say they are “very confident in their managers’ abilities to have tough conversations about compensation with employees.” With employees primarily going to their managers for compensation info, this is a big problem. Offer comp-specific communication training to your managers, and support them with data so they can be confident in their discussions.

Curious to know what recommendations the panel had for other common questions about total rewards? Grab the ebook today!

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have questions about total rewards? Ask away in the comments.

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