Confessions of a benefits manager: Candid designs a reward leaflet

Confessions of a benefits manager

I feel a bit ashamed to admit this, but our benefits documentation is not great. The stuff online is fine; all the information about our flexible benefits platform is up to date and acceptable. However, what we send out to candidates needs some attention. Someone who recently joined tells me she was given the wrong bonus percentage and had to ask to find out anything about the benefits. Some of our UK benefits are rather good, upper quartile even, and it seems a shame if we are not using this to attract candidates. I mean nobody leaves because the benefits are not good enough, but a few choice benefits might compensate for a less-than-exciting salary or swing the difference between two otherwise similar job offers. If not, why are we spending the money on benefits at all?

We have told the talent teams what to say, and we have even given them their own access so they can look up what each job or grade is entitled to. But still, it seems, they are getting it wrong. I would really like to get an external site setup, but for now I decide to revamp an old leaflet.

Creating a reward leaflet

Yes, a reward leaflet. I know that is old school. Of course, we will never actually print the thing, it will just be an attachment to emails and posted job ads, but it least it will be something nice we can put out there. We have group roles that are advertised in both the US and the UK, so I would like to do a combined version. The benefits are different in each country, but there is a lot in common too, particularly on the compensation side; our incentives, share plans and recognition plans are the same globally. Or so I thought.

When I talk to my US colleagues, I discover that they use different terminology for the same things. They have different names for our share plans, life insurance, and even the financial wellbeing app. They call it the ‘financial savvy app’, which makes me cringe even more than ‘wellbeing’. Worse, my US colleagues will not be moved on terminology. Everyone is used to these terms they say. Yes, but the leaflet will used externally. They argue that when the employee joins, they will be referring to things by the wrong name. The right name, I think but hold it in.

So, I create two totally different versions, and all the consistency I was trying to create is lost. It makes me glad I did not set out to create a leaflet for all of Europe. At this rate, that could be a life’s work.

Enlisting design support

Having established some vaguely acceptable content, nowhere near as compelling as I had hoped for but something at least, I set about getting some help from the comms team to make it look pretty. Communications has recently won awards for its employee engagement materials so should be able make a little leaflet look nice. I start by looking at the award-winning presentation decks online. We had an email a while ago encouraging us to use these tools for all employee-facing materials. Unfortunately, not one of them is suitable for my leaflet. I get excited to see there is a word document created called ‘leaflet’, but I cannot see how my content would fit in the boxes provided, nor would the lovely pictures be suitable.

I put in a meeting with my usual contact. She tells me I really need to speak to the branding team if I want new assets relating to employee engagement. I am not sure I do want that. I just want something that looks pretty and is consistent with other employee-facing materials. Yes, he tells me, that is definitely the branding team. I meet with the branding team leader who immediately tells me it is not her. But, I was told I should speak to you for any new assets relating to employee engagement. Ah yes, well it might be us, she admits. After a pause, she says no, it definitely is not her, I need to speak to Marilyn who has been leading the employee engagement updates. Great. I set up a meeting with Marilyn, who listens attentively to my ask. Oh no, she says, you need to speak to your internal comms contact. At that point, my face loses its composure. I have already spoken to internal comms, I say through gritted teeth, they indirectly sent me here. She passes me to someone in her team instead, who thankfully seems quite interested to help. She promises to get back to me.

A few weeks pass and still no pretty leaflet. I chase and she gives some excuse about workload on another programme for performance management. How come they are getting all the attention? Why is reward the poor cousin all the time?

‘Borrowing’ ideas

Sometimes when you want something doing, you just have to get on and do it yourself. I remember seeing a nice deck prepared by the performance management team. Looking again now, it has the feel of something prepared by branding, all jazzy and colourful. I pinch one of the better slides as a format template for my leaflet.

I send the two leaflets around for review and Big Bad Boss is delighted. Presentation is everything and I am sure it has helped to put things into a professional looking format even if I had to steal it. It is nice to get some kudos for my work for a change. Big Bad Boss has even sent it over to the CPO and I hear he loves it too. In fact, he loves it so much he wants me to do one for all the countries in Europe. Sigh.

Next time…Candid does some manager training