Traditionally, the idea of total rewards communication has been a destination. A place to send employees a holistic picture of the benefits and rewards available to them. The first iteration produced annual compensation statements, to which employers started adding benefits information. The next evolution saw the frequency of communication increase to shift from an annual perspective to an ongoing dialog. Along the way, the table of contents expanded to add voluntary benefits, learning and development opportunities, social governance, and more. Ultimately, the communication was rounded out with the reputation and culture of the employer embedded alongside the visual representation of year-to-date financials, costs, and commitments.
The evolution and advances over time continue to revolve around the notion of a total rewards destination. A destination that we need to drive employees to so they get a compelling story and will appreciate the programs offered.
Where do we go from here? Improved benefits communication has never been more needed than right now.
Employee experience (EX) is the sum of all the touchpoints and moments that matter between employees and their employer. The most common purpose of total rewards communication is to raise awareness and appreciation of all the rewards programs offered. By bringing these two together, employers can level up their total rewards communications. Rather than a destination, total rewards become the way of communicating. Connecting total rewards programs with the moments that matter to employees allows employees to fully appreciate what is offered and to fully engage them in the valuable rewards and benefits you work so hard to provide.
Here are four steps to level up your total rewards experience:
- Coordinate every touchpoint with employees through the lens of your total rewards value proposition. This includes highlighting your partners and providers as an opportunity to reinforce the value proposition into all communications. Wellbeing partners, administration providers, boutique consulting partners and others are in contact with your employees through print, digital mediums and on the phone. Actively plan across your partner ecosystem to go beyond the mechanics of how programs work and instead take an engagement stance to elevate the value and communicate in an action-oriented manner. Proactive touchpoints should not be so frequent to be annoying but timely enough to be relevant.
- Segment and individualize messages. In addition to simply displaying employee data, use enrollment and eligibility data to individualize messaging to different populations. For example, use program rules to create touchpoints based on participation or nudge employees to explore something that may be particularly relevant based on their life stage. Use data from a third-party vendor system to encourage the employee to log back in again if they haven’t visited in a while or display achievement or to-do-list activities to drive traffic and engagement with those vendors. Specially tailor information to inform impacted employees of a change to a program or upcoming regulations they should be aware of. Data can be used to individualize touchpoints to raise awareness, emphasize value, and encourage action.
- Create a high-impact experience starting before employment through an individualized pre-hire experience. Use job offer data to emphasize the value proposition specific to different roles. For some roles, the key message beyond compensation might be regarding career progression. For others it could be flexible scheduling and for some, it could be to highlight climate and sustainable governance commitments as part of the company culture. Use a variety of listening tools to understand what means most to different roles, to different age brackets, to different salary bands, and make sure the pre-hire online experience drives the most relevant messages to the right populations.
- Continue to engage individuals after they leave the organization, so they act as brand ambassadors. Those who retire will remain champions of the organization in social circles and community groups, and pass on positive impressions to younger folks and encourage them to join the company. Just as valuable can be keeping connections alive with those who may look to rejoin the company later – seasonal roles, senior leaders, and selected roles where rotating employment is a pattern.
Applying this level of individualization requires proper planning and ongoing measurement. A coordinated communications calendar that includes the segmentation and individualization of messaging requires active maintenance and ongoing refinement. Use three primary sources of input in your communications planning:
- Analysis of which populations are accessing which content, following which nudges, and linking to which partners.
- Information from your support desk/service center on high-volume questions, and on high-effort cases.
- Priority-setting, initiatives from HR business partners and program owners and corporate events (mergers, business realignment, leadership changes, etc.).
These primary sources allow you to recalibrate the key messages, audiences and desired outcomes from your personalized communication planning and delivery. The net result levels up your total rewards communication to raise awareness, engage your employees and individualize the value proposition during all touchpoints between you and your employees.