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Communicating Total Compensation

Posted by Spitfire Communications on Jan 19, 2021 10:00:00 AM
Communicating Total Compensation

From recruiting and hiring to onboarding, benefits management, employee relations and more, the traditional components of the HR infrastructure have been dismantled by Covid-19. And as organizations think about what happens next, a redesigned approach to compensation communications will be a crucial part of year-end planning.

With unprecedented numbers of employees working remotely and limited plans to return to in-person work, dynamic compensation communication strategies that are inclusive to all employees across a patchwork of geographic locations and circumstances will be essential.

In a time of overwhelming economic uncertainty, having a deliberate and comprehensive compensation communications plan could make the difference between your employees feeling financially secure or left out in the dark.

To effectively communicate total compensation to your team, here are three key points to consider:


Understand Your Audience

For many employees, the fear and unpredictability surrounding their financial future is a stress they deal with daily. And while it’s the traditional time to distribute compensation or total reward statements to your organization, this year requires a particularly sensitive approach.

Remember: many employees are operating in pure survival mode. When sharing this year’s compensation statements, think about tapping into their overall sense of security. Be empathetic in all communications and continuously track how your employees feel so you can focus on the tone of each message.


Communicate Openly and Transparently

Transparency, even in regard to something negative or off putting like Covid-19 uncertainty, is a communication tool that can help build trust and calm in an organization, even when the surrounding world seems completely out of control.

In fact, 88% of employees in an ongoing analysis by MIT Sloan and Glassdoor of over 1.4 million reviews expressed positive sentiments around communications that were transparent during the pandemic, particularly from their leaders.

It’s understandable if you avoided sharing the true organizational cost of the pandemic when dispersing your crisis communications this past year, but now, it’s time to be transparent:

  • Share a letter directly from the CEO explaining necessary changes.
  • Communicate every viable option and adjustment clearly to ensure that executives, leaders and managers are armed with the same information so they can disseminate the message even further.
  • Explain that current compensation adjustments are not necessarily permanent.
  • Accentuate the highlights the previous year had to offer, such as organizational wins, shared acts of community service, and feats of team building that brought positivity back into the workplace.


Create a Total Rewards Communication Strategy

There’s a lot more to employee compensation than just salary. By creating a total rewards communication strategy, employers can utilize touchpoints that illuminate the net value to employees and boost employee engagement and retention. Components such as a compensation statements can break down the overall cost of employee benefits and perks and provide a more vivid picture of what employees are “getting” from their employer.

Implementing your strategy also provides a great opportunity to create communications that reinforce support available through your Employee Assistance Program. Highlight offerings like stock options, student loan paydown, FSAs, tuition reimbursement, etc. that can be easily overlooked on an employee’s pay stub if you don’t take the time to summarize and communicate the data.


A Valuable Year for Lessons Learned

The level of transformation the global workforce has undergone is unprecedented beyond imagination. Still, a silver lining shines through:

The past few years have galvanized employers and HR leaders to support their people like never before ‒ from reevaluating traditional policies to enabling remote work, adjusting compensation and performance planning, and empowering employee engagement at every turn.


As we move into a new year, armed with a sense of resilience that can only come from such adversity, it’s time to put into place compensation communication practices that keep employers aligned with their employees and ready for whatever the future of work has in store.


Tags: HR Communications, Employee Engagement, communication strategy, total rewards, benefit package, compensation statement

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