Article: Six tips for communicating total reward effectively and efficiently

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Six tips for communicating total reward effectively and efficiently

Only thing even more important than your employees having the best possible total rewards package is communicating the same to them.
Six tips for communicating total reward effectively and efficiently

Your total reward offering – total value of an employee's compensation package along with the  basic salary -- may be the best there is, but it becomes irrelevant if not communicated effectively. The fundamentals of the social contract between the employer and employee is: reward for labor. Communication and motivation start here and only then can the results expand out. 

A 2016 study of over 2,000 employees titled What Your Employees Think About Your Benefits Communication found that almost half of all employees are confused by the benefits their employers offer them. So, what is the point of spending all of this money, time and effort if employees do not understand their value?

To get maximum results from your total reward strategy, employees need to fully understand what the employer is offering them, why it exists and what it means for them, personally.

Also read: Employee compensation and personalization: How technology is improving total reward statements

Communication is the key to success. As an employer, you have to ensure your messages are always available and easy to access. They need to be clear, crisp and simple to understand. They also need to be globally aligned to your strategy, while simultaneously being locally tailored to your markets. It is important to use analytics to measure the effectiveness of your reward communication.

Total reward should not be static as it can lead to employee dissatisfaction and increased turnover, if not communicated correctly. It must be aligned to the individual needs of your employees. Measuring, tweaking and improving the strategy of your reward communication, in an agile manner, is important to its continued effectiveness.

Top tips 

Here my six top tips to ensure effective communication regarding an employee’s total reward: 

1. Information should be digital

Reward communication is a pointless feat if your employees do not know where to find the information they need. Creating a one-stop-shop for employees to go for all things reward should be the first step. Accessibility to total reward data should also be a key factor in your total reward communication strategy. It should be available online and easily accessible via any device. Proper communication can be done through online total reward statements as the first point of entry. Online statements are where information should be consolidated so that employees are not jumping from multiple sources to view their personal total reward information.

2. Always available and accurate

Our Reward Survey research (2021) found that 83% of firms cannot supply employees with real-time total reward statements. If the available reward information is out-of-date (based on a previous role, salary or location), then it becomes meaningless to the employee. Employers need to ensure that the total reward information they communicate is based on the most recent employee attributes. This will create value for the employee because it is both relevant and current. Always-on and always valid, digital total reward statements are important to employees. They can go in to view their data when and as often as they need to. Remember how essential this information is: these details might be required at different stages or for different life events, such as applying for a mortgage or planning for retirement, so it needs to be live and recent.

3. All forms of reward should be communicated

All forms of reward should be included in your communication strategy, regardless of whether there is a monetary or non-monetary value. The economic value of rewards that are not in the pay slip could actually be valued much higher by the employee. Leaving these out would do a disservice to both employee and employer. Items such as recognition, professional development courses, flexible vacation days, maternity/paternity leave, or the option for a subsidized bicycle could turn out to be just that extra motivation an employee is looking for. WorldatWork and Maritz Motivation’s 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey shows it isn’t necessarily performance pay that motivates employees, and that non-cash reward is in fact a highly underestimated motivational tool. So, always go that extra mile to let employees understand the full value of the employers’ investment.

4. Push the right messages at the right time

There are certain times when communicating reward becomes more crucial. This is mostly when there are major package changes involved or during times of uncertainty. During these critical junctures, ensure you push through the right messages at the right times. Be aware of the reward calendar as well as the external market. For example, Harvard Business Review found that communicating recurring spot bonuses can increase performance and morale during the times of crisis.

Some other examples of when to effectively communicate the right messages are during:

  1. Salary changes after annual pay review

  2. Changes to incentive structures

  3. The announcement of new benefits/rewards

  4. Announcing flex during enrolment windows

Remember, having an always-available, consistent communication channel is imperative.

5. Ensure there is constant two-way feedback

Employees need to understand the full value of the investment the employers have made in them. However, employers also need to understand how they feel in return. Using feedback data and analytics to understand any uncertainties facing your employees will help you improve communication over time. It is also important to measure the effectiveness of your communication. Ask employees what they think. Do they fully understand the elements of their reward package? Is there a reward regarding which they would like more information? What would they like to change? Without this information, it is impossible to tweak and improve the effectiveness of your reward communication.

6. Make it both personal and visual

Lastly, personalization and visuals can help explain the complexities in total reward. Having the ability for employees to view dynamic graphics, or experiment and play with their own personal total reward, can help clarify how it works for them. The ability to model, experiment with, and view changes to rewards before the changes take place can also help ease uncertainty. This can eliminate confusion over something that may be perceived as too complicated to try or explain. Simplify your message. Employers should always steer clear from overcomplication and try to look at things from the eyes of an employee. Sometimes, a picture can paint a thousand words when it comes to total reward.

Learn more about Uflex Rewards here!

(This article is a part of a content partnership with UFlex. It was first published here)

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Topics: Benefits & Rewards Consulting, Compensation & Benefits

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