Employee Benefits Summit 2011: Staff should be educated on social media and reward

Employers should beware of doing anything on pay that you are not prepared to publish and be held accountable for, particularly in the new age of social media and online information sharing.†

Speaking on the first day of the Employee Benefits Summit 2011 in Portugal, Helen Murlis, author of Reward Management – A Handbook of Remuneration Strategy and Practice Engagement, said: “The reality of 24/7 global connection and speed is that information sharing is instant.”

For example, the baby-boomer generation were most interested in whether they were paid enough to meet their needs, while generation Y is interested in the how they are paid and why.

Murlis added employees from generation Y are likely to use online resources to discover the how and why, using websites like salary.com, payscale.com, and simplyhired.com. Questions they are likely to ask include: Is my pay fair in relation to my peers? How trustworthy and transparent is communication about this? Am I being told the whole picture?

For Generation Y, social media and reward data are intertwined, so they need to be educated about benchmarking rather than using the internet to compare their pay and reward. “They need to ask whether this information is accurate or up-to-date,” Murlis said.

Social networking and discussion pages like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are also extremely popular with this generation, demonstrating that what works for different age groups in terms of reward and workplace environment is very different.

For instance, Generation Y values a tech-savvy work environment, a sense of purpose and meaning at work, long-term career development and multiple experiences within one organisation, access to mentors and coaches, and work-life flexibility.†

“It is quite dicey for baby-boomers to make reward decisions for Generation Y,” said Murlis. “They are very different.”

Read more articles from the Employee Benefits Summit 2011