To­tal re­wards more than a cheque

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - CAREERS - COLLEEN COATES

THE at­trac­tion and re­ten­tion of key tal­ent is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s over­all suc­cess. That’s why suc­cess­ful or­ga­ni­za­tions con­sider all of the el­e­ments of a to­tal re­wards pro­gram when com­mu­ni­cat­ing with prospec­tive or cur­rent em­ploy­ees.

To­tal re­wards, fre­quently re­ferred to as to­tal com­pen­sa­tion, are the tools that make up the em­ployee value propo­si­tion. In other words, to­tal re­wards in­clude ev­ery­thing that an em­ployee per­ceives to be of value. Es­sen­tially, an em­ployer pro­vides re­wards that its em­ploy­ees value in ex­change for their em­ploy­ees’ time, tal­ent, ef­fort and, of course, re­sults.

Worl­datWork, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion fo­cus­ing on global hu­man re­source is­sues, di­vides to­tal re­wards into five cat­e­gories: com­pen­sa­tion, ben­e­fits, work life, per­for­mance and recog­ni­tion, as well as de­vel­op­ment and ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties. Lever­ag­ing these five el­e­ments is vi­tal to the at­trac­tion, mo­ti­va­tion and re­ten­tion of a tal­ented work­force. Ac­cord­ing to a 2010 study on to­tal re­wards, the ma­jor­ity of com­pa­nies say their main ob­jec­tive for hav­ing a to­tal re­wards strat­egy is to at­tract key tal­ent and to en­hance em­ployee en­gage­ment.

There are many fac­tors that in­flu­ence an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s to­tal re­wards strat­egy and re­search shows that or­ga­ni­za­tions that link their strat­egy to their busi­ness plans will achieve greater suc­cess. When de­vel­op­ing a re­wards strat­egy, lead­ers must con­sider the fol­low­ing:

Or­ga­ni­za­tional cul­ture — Cul­ture can be a pow­er­ful, yet in­vis­i­ble tool. It is the col­lec­tive thoughts, at­ti­tudes, be­hav­iours and iden­tity of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Cul­ture can in­flu­ence to­tal re­wards in terms of ex­pected or ac­cepted prac­tices.

Ex­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ment — Ex­ter­nal fac­tors in­clude is­sues such as labour-mar­ket con­di­tions, changes in leg­is­la­tion and new competition for tal­ent. For in­stance, if there is a labour-mar­ket short­age for spe­cific tal­ent, it could drive up that mar­ket’s salary rates.

In­ter­nal busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment — An or­ga­ni­za­tion’s over­all busi­ness and hu­man re­source strat­egy should drive the de­vel­op­ment of the to­tal re­wards strat­egy. Some parts of the pack­age, such as com­pen­sa­tion, are also in­flu­enced by the com­pany’s cur­rent po­si­tion in its life­span. For ex­am­ple, startup com­pa­nies fre­quently pro­vide a greater pro­por­tion of cash com­pen­sa­tion through longterm in­cen­tives.

As salary bud­gets tighten and the cost of do­ing busi­ness con­tin­ues to rise, more or­ga­ni­za­tions are look­ing to­ward what I would clas­sify as non-tra­di­tional, but highly ef­fec­tive, forms of com­pen­sa­tion to at­tract, mo­ti­vate and re­tain their tal­ent. In pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles, I’ve dis­cussed the ben­e­fits of recog­ni­tion pro­grams and how they can mo­ti­vate peo­ple with­out cost­ing a pretty penny. This of­ten­neglected el­e­ment of to­tal re­wards can play a sig­nif­i­cant role in mo­ti­vat­ing a work­force.

De­vel­op­ment and ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties are other el­e­ments of to­tal re­wards that may be over­looked. Pro­gres­sive lead­ers take the time to men­tor key tal­ent, pro­vid­ing them with op­por­tu­nity to learn and grow on the job — all with­out hav­ing to pull out the cheque­book.

Ac­cord­ing to Bev­erly Braun-Allard, a ca­reer man­age­ment con­sul­tant with KWA Part­ners, a key de­liv­er­able in a ca­reer-man­age­ment strat­egy is to re­de­fine ca­reer de­vel­op­ment. This in­cludes com­mu­ni­cat­ing that ca­reerde­vel­op­ment dis­cus­sions can lead to dis­cov­er­ing the po­ten­tial within em­ploy­ees while link­ing em­ploy­ees’ per­sonal goals to their em­ployer’s ob­jec­tives. The out­come of such con­ver­sa­tions is an ac­tion­able plan for learn­ing, growth and skill de­vel­op­ment.

If you’re go­ing to in­vest in a to­tal re­wards strat­egy, it is wise to have buy-in from the top ranks of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. In a re­cent to­tal re­wards sur­vey, the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents said that the top per­son re­spon­si­ble for their com­pany’s to­tal re­wards pro­gram re­ported di­rectly to the CEO. As a re­sult, these pro­gres­sive or­ga­ni­za­tions were able to achieve the ob­jec­tives of their to­tal re­wards strat­egy, un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tant role that to­tal re­wards plays in the achieve­ment of or­ga­ni­za­tional goals and ob­jec­tives.

As an em­ployee, con­sider the value propo­si­tion from your em­ployer as it in­vests time and money to en­sure you are ap­pro­pri­ately re­warded for your tal­ent and ef­fort. When you’re look­ing across the street to the competition or com­par­ing salaries with your friends, re­mind your­self about all those other great things that make up your em­ployer’s to­tal re­wards pack­age. Do you have a fun, col­lab­o­ra­tive work en­vi­ron­ment? A sup­port­ive boss? Free cof­fee? Flex­i­ble work hours? Tu­ition re­im­burse­ment? Free bar­be­cues? The list goes on, I’m sure. But if you’re not sure, then ask your­self, “Why do I stay?”

If you don’t like the an­swer, then it might be time for a change. But that’s a topic for an­other day.

— With re­port­ing by Bar­bara Chabai

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