Scott Cawood: Know the organisation before benchmarking total reward

Scott Cawood

How do top performing organisations attract the absolute best talent? It is never just the number on a pay stub; instead, the answer is complex and multi-layered.

In a competitive employment market, it is critical to benchmark reward. This means not only looking outward at the rewards offered by competitors, but, just as importantly, looking inward and honestly assessing what is important to staff. The last thing organisations want is for employees to give their feedback by walking out the door.

For the past several years, WorldatWork and Korn Ferry have produced an annual compilation that shows the prevalence of a variety of reward programmes and practices. The 2018 survey, published on 1 November 2018, shows that certain benefits are on the rise, such as telemedicine services, employee discount programmes, eldercare resources, paid parental leave and women’s advancement initiatives, among others. Others, however, are declining in popularity, for example charitable fundraising, floating holidays and on-site fitness centres.

Statistics like these are extremely valuable. However, just knowing what is popular is not enough.

In addition to being aware of which rewards other organisations focus on, a key component of any successful benchmarking effort is to understand and embrace workplace differentiation. What works within a rocketing start-up, for example, may not be viable for a legacy enterprise.

A primary reason an employee chooses to join or leave an organisation is the distinct employer brand, which may not always align with the brand that is communicated externally. So, what does the current or prospective employee perceive when they look at and evaluate the organisation?

Employers must focus on providing an environment in which staff members can be their best selves. This can play out in different ways, and it is important that employers know their organisation first and then benchmark with that in mind.

Scott Cawood is president and chief executive officer at global compensation and total reward association WorldatWork

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