Total reward statements show full value of benefits

If you read nothing else, read this…

• Total reward statements (TRS) should be one piece of a larger approach to benefits communication.

• TRS can be used to promote the non-cash benefits on offer, putting a tangible value on these perks.

• Some employers are combining TRS with face-to-face pay reviews.

Total reward statements give staff an insight into the real value of their benefits, and can boost engagement, says Jennifer Paterson

Total reward statements (TRS) are a transparent way to show staff the total value of their benefits package. Content is key: too much information and too many numbers will turn employees off, while too little content is likely to generate endless questions.

Graham Jarvis, managing director at Staffcare, says: “The best statements will include financial information and elements such as training and development opportunities, perks of working for the employer, and even information on social events.”

The promotion of good news, rather than static salary figures, should be central to TRS content, says Dominic Holmes, head of online and flex at Buck Consultants. “TRS has historically been focused on income, which is quite static, rather than looking at accumulated wealth, which goes up even if the salary stays the same.”

Personalising TRS content will also encourage engagement. Lorna Ashworth, managing director at Ashworth Black, says: “In difficult economic times, employers turn to TRS to show staff the true value of the benefits package, because employees often do not understand the range of benefits they have. It is really beneficial to have a TRS where each benefit, and the value of it, is explained.

“It is important for employers to give a value to the cost of a benefit to the organisation, and also what the cost would be if the employee bought it independently. For example, if a large employer is bulk-buying private medical insurance, it might cost £10 a month per employee, but if an employee went to the same provider independently, it might cost four or five times as much.”

A comprehensive TRS will also include non-cost benefits, particularly those that are unique to the employer. Mark Carman, director of communication services at Edenred, says: “At John Lewis Partnership, staff have shared benefits that are paid for by the organisation, but it does not put a cost on these [for each individual], although it knows how much they cost the business. On the TRS, a page is dedicated to the shared benefits of being a John Lewis employee.”

These benefits include staff hotels and clubs, plus a 50% discount at John Lewis and Waitrose cafeterias.

Include helpful links

It is also helpful to include links on a TRS to enable staff to access further benefits-related information, including pension modelling tools, financial education modules and portals to benefits providers. Jarvis adds: “A lot more information can be provided on an online statement without complicating the employee experience. With modern website developments, the online statement can really provide a ‘wow’ factor for staff.”

To ensure employees really understand the value of their benefits, some employers combine a TRS with a face-to-face pay review. Carman says: “The whole communications programme is through managers, who will sit down with their employees, pass out the statement and talk it through with them.”

Employers can maximise employee engagement by making a TRS part of their overall HR communications strategy and delivering it via office-based plasma screens, team meetings, focus groups and staff committees. Carman adds: “Just delivering a TRS on its own is not sufficient. It is a pinnacle of the whole communications programme.”

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