How valuable is your total compensation package if current and prospective employees don't know about it? When employers fail to spread the word about the benefits their companies offer, their employees may suffer from poor morale and performance as well as retention, since other companies may be more effective at communicating how much they have to offer prospective job candidates.
A common mistake among employers is spreading the word about benefits only during an open enrollment period. Of course, it's necessary to communicate at that time, but there is a risk they'd overwhelm employees by swamping them with too much benefits-related information all at once.
The lack of an organized "benefits communications campaign" around a total compensation package could lead to employee misunderstanding or unawareness about all that's available to them. Too often, they consider their take-home-pay as the only benefit of employment, either because they don't know or don't grasp the many other potential benefits (from health and dental insurance to vacation, sick days, and professional development opportunities) available to them. If they're unaware of the value of the benefits their employer provides, it's little wonder they may start looking elsewhere to work for a business that better demonstrates its commitment to employees.
So what should you do to let employees know about all the ways in which your business compensates them for their hard work and dedication?
Start With a Total Rewards Statement
Every aspect of your compensation package should be described and laid-out in your employee handbook, but more specifically, in a comprehensive and clearly written total rewards statement. When putting such a document together, don't make the mistake of boasting about what a great employer you are. Keep the focus on your employees and their needs, identifying key elements of the package such as:
- Competitive salaries
- Health coverage and insurance
- Employee Assistance Program
- Merit increases
- Time off request policy
- Sick leave
- Wellness programs
- Flex work schedule
- Professional training
- Recognition rewards
Everything that has a specific dollar value should be included in this statement. Only then will employees have what they need in order to understand the full spectrum of value they get by being a part of your business.
Communicate Total Rewards as Often as You Can
Open enrollment is just one occasion where you can highlight the tangible benefits of your compensation package. Think about all the venues and opportunities you've established to reach out to your workforce. For example, you could share your total rewards statement during new hire orientation, all-staff meetings, and performance reviews. Make this topic a regular feature in your employee bulletins and companywide email messages from the owner or others on the executive team. Or you could make use of internal HR data to contact specific employees who reach a work-related milestone, or who might be getting married or approaching retirement.
Here are some other ways you can reinforce your message:
- Distribute benefits information to employees' mobile devices.
- Keep remote workers and employees in multiple offices informed via email notifications, videos, etc.
- Share detailed information through your social media networks.
- Put posters on your office walls and send direct mail to your employees' homes.
Assign an Individual or Team to Plot Communications Strategy
Informing employees about your wide-ranging benefits package may be too important to leave to chance (or when you happen to get around to it). Consider assigning a knowledgeable individual or a small team to plan a year-round communications strategy with special attention paid to anticipated changes in the way benefits are structured in your business.
Another frequent misstep among employers is waiting too long to alert employees that changes are being made to the benefits package. In these cases, it's understandable if an employee's initial reaction is confusion or worse, anger, at being kept in the dark too long.
Reach Out Via your HCM Solution
Businesses that offer employees a dedicated HR portal should use this method to communicate about their compensation package. Make it easy for employees to register, log-in, do their own research concerning benefit plan details, and make any relevant changes to their personal information. (Another tip: Include direct links to benefit vendors' websites.) Being able to easily view total rewards statements on an easy-to-navigate portal can dramatically increase the depth and scope of employee knowledge on this topic.
Promote Your Benefits Package on the Company Website
A competitive benefits package can be a highly effective candidate-recruitment tool. In addition to highlighting all the other great things about your business, dedicate space on your company website to descriptions of the various benefits you offer employees.
These are just a few of the ways you can help employees understand their benefits. If you have a competitive compensation package, then there's really no risk of over-communicating to employees and job-seekers.