Four rules for improving your communications about reward

August 22nd 2023 Reward Employee Communications
Chris Andrew
By Chris Andrew

Experts agree that while the changing workplace makes it vital for organisations to get their rewards right, their practices need a major overhaul.

To achieve the ultimate potential of your reward programmes, it is essential to take into account these three crucial factors:

  • State-of-the-art technology that empowers your benefits offering with revolutionary speed, connectivity and analytical capabilities, enabling it to be agile and remarkably impactful.
  • Investment in enhancing employees’ financial literacy ensures they can evaluate and derive genuine value from their rewards.
  • Clear, two-way communication that, when executed skilfully, can convert all your behind-the-scenes dedication and investments into employee engagement.

Let's talk about reward

In February, progressive reward experts from around the world convened in London for Neovation's Reward Forward event. Discussions revolved around a shared concern: while the rapidly evolving workplace has made it increasingly crucial for organisations to get their rewards right, reward practices have become stagnant.

Escalating living costs are straining employee financial wellbeing, placing reward and benefits at the forefront of the competition for talent. Workforce demographics are shifting, with younger generations demanding more from their employee experience. They expect 'genuine' workplace connections within a digitally driven, flexible and personalised world.

Hence, the four rules of effective reward communication are:

1. Active listening

For reward to strike a chord, it must align with your employees' desires, needs and values. Don't presume to know which benefits will be most appealing to them. Instead, ask them, be responsive and maintain a dialogue. This way, you will foster engagement and gain insight into adapting your rewards to meet present needs.

2. Transactional vs emotional

Listening to employees resolves another challenge that often hampers seamless reward communication. It's understandable for HR to see reward as a transactional process and overlook its emotional effect on employees.

This impact isn't solely because reward determines lifestyles and choices; it's also because reward represents how the organisation values an individual. It speaks of appreciation, status and opportunities.

Organisations that effectively convey that value, establish emotional, human connections between individuals and the company. These connections are vital for fostering long-term loyalty and dedication.

This is why recognition plays a crucial role in reward. An organisation might not be able to provide industry-leading financial compensation, but by expressing value through recognition and expressing gratitude for individual contributions, it addresses the emotional aspect of reward.

3. Establishing connections

An effective approach to forging emotional connections is communicating the multi-faceted nature of reward. This includes traditional aspects like compensation, bonuses, equity and benefits, and other ways in which the organisation invests in the employee experience, such as diversity, equity, inclusion, career path opportunities and wellbeing.

These connections need to be explicitly voiced so they are perceived as integral parts of reward offered by the organisation. Rather than restricting reward communication to the benefits selection period or bonus discussions, use the cultural aspects of reward to demonstrate the organisation's year-round investment in its employees.

4. Use the right channels

At Reward Forward, Ashok Pillai, Senior Vice-President of Reward and Wellbeing for BP, called communication the bridge between the cost of reward programmes and the value they generate.

According to Pillai, the source of this communication is crucial. For reward messaging to have maximum impact, it must originate from leaders — both at the top in terms of overall messaging and at the individual level from line managers to employees. This means aligning reward communication to ensure consistency while supporting line managers.

Considering line managers as a vital avenue for reward communication yields an additional advantage. It guarantees the dissemination of information to every employee, including those engaged in frontline work or frequently traveling who may have limited communication access.

Leveraging line manager communication fosters fairness in accessing information, stimulates personalised discussions regarding reward and showcases your organisation's investment in its employees.

Chris Andrew
By Chris Andrew