Employee Benefits Summit 2011: Communications must be transparent to fully engage staff

Honesty and transparency are essential attributes for reward communications in order to engage employees, particularly at a time when pay increases may remain low.

Speaking in a panel debate on the second day of the Employee Benefits Summit 2011, Craig Truter, reward manager at Centrica, said that the best reward messages were very clear and simple. “We have a mantra that repetition is recognition,” he said.

He added that employers should try to reinforce the same message around total reward. “If you can deliver through some of the channels people engage with, you get better dividends.”

Employee feedback can be useful in helping employers to identify the best communication channels for particular groups of employees, particularly if they have a diverse, geographically disparate workforce. Tim Taylor, head of reward and recognition at Tui Travel UK and Ireland, said: “Sometimes you have just got to get out there and ask. Sometimes you will be surprised with [the results].”

For example, he explained that within Tui Travel UK and Ireland, employees in its retail outlets said that frequently changing posters were particularly effective.

Line managers should also play a key role in reward communications. Mark Bradshaw, HR director – reward, wellbeing and policy at Amey, said: “Most importantly, make sure the line manager understands the package. They are the real advocates.”

Read more news from the Employee Benefits Summit 2011