Employees are regularly reminded of their salary via paystubs; however, what’s most beneficial to maximize your investment in your people (your largest expense) and ensure high employee engagement is communicating their total rewards. But what exactly is “total rewards”? We sat down with Blanca Avetrani, Director of Client Services in our Mid-Atlantic office, to answer that question and discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on the value of rewards, how to ensure employees understand their total rewards and more.
Here are the highlights of our Q&A session:
1. When I think of total rewards, I think of prizes or winning something. What do you mean by total rewards?
Companies will vary in how they define total rewards, but generally it consists of compensation (the obvious component), benefits and the employee experience. Benefits include those outside of the standard health plan – things like 401(k) plan matching contributions, access to mental and financial wellbeing resources, paid gym memberships, student loan payback assistance and so much more. Access to financial and mental wellbeing resources is really important right now, more than ever, and employees are coming to expect it.
The employee experience is anything outside of compensation and benefits that would be seen as a reward for working for your organization. This includes things like the quality of employee-supervisor relationships, opportunities for growth and development, a sense of purpose in one’s work, amenities and perks within the physical workplace, etc.
2. What does total rewards have to do with a company's values?
The core values of a company are so important in creating that thriving workplace where people want to work. When I think about company values, I think about things like diversity, leadership and integrity; all of those things should be considered when building a total rewards plan. When there’s a tough decision to make, such as what to include or not include in your total rewards, you can look at your core values and ask yourself, what decisions do our core values dictate?
3. How has COVID shifted what employees value when it comes to a total rewards package?
COVID has really highlighted the awareness, use and value of employee assistance programs. It’s free face-to-face counseling services, not only for yourself but also for your dependents. And this is such a great benefit that has previously been underutilized because employees forgot about it or didn’t need it. But COVID caused many to seek out counseling due to stress, anxiety, depression and other issues. COVID also got people to embrace and utilize telehealth. They like that they can see a doctor sooner from the comfort and safety of their homes, and they’re saving time.
4. So a company’s invested in a comprehensive total rewards program – how do they make sure employees know all that they’re getting?
Constant and effective communication is the only answer. What I mean by constant is you can’t just send out that total rewards package to them once a year and then never talk about it again. There has to be year-round communication in more digestible-sized messages. And what I mean by effectively is to find out how employees like to receive communication and do that. Survey your employees, review your communication analytics and develop your communication strategy accordingly. One thing that we’ve found out through research is that, typically, people prefer watching a video rather than reading that beautiful compensation statement that you created for them.