Why Hire A Specialist Agency For Your Reward Communication Strategy?

September 11th 2020 in Elizabeth Spencer-Phillips, Employee Communications, Reward

Effective employee reward communication is inextricably linked to performance. 

Numerous research studies[1] have shown that one of the main reasons people underperform in organisations is because they don’t fully understand what the organisation is offering them as an employee, or what’s expected of them in return. That means they don’t buy into the company’s mission and values, and don’t feel empowered to be partof it.

Dedicated reward teams put a lot of effort into designing competitive reward packages. However they lose power when they’re not communicated effectively. A dedicated reward communications strategy that informs, engages and inspires is essential for the power of reward to be harnessed to its fullest.

We work with organisations to do just that – elevate the work their reward and HR teams are doing to ensure employees understand their total reward package, see the value in it and feel inspired to engage

What’s missing from your reward communication?

Effective reward communication requires an integration of expert knowledge with a clear understanding of marketing best practice. After all, reward is a product like any other, and your employees are the consumers.

As consumers, when we're considering buying a product, service, membership or subscription, we’re used to being targeted with slick, inspiring, and motivating marketing messages that not only provide clarity of the product or offering but also speak to our emotional needs.

Great marketing tells us why a product is relevant to us as individuals, what benefit we will gain from it, and what will happen after we purchase. The same applies to employee reward communication, and this is often the missing piece of the puzzle.

Taking a unique approach to reward communication

Transactional vs. emotional communication

Internal communication often focuses on just one function of communication: informing. We call this transactional content as it focuses on essential, need-to-know information such as how-to guides, or step-by-step instructions. This content is “always-on” and always available to those who need it, but it’s not what gets people excited and engaged.

Let’s take Dyson vacuum cleaners as an example. A transactional piece of content about their appliances might be a downloadable guide called ‘How To Clean My Filter’ or a PDF outlining the product warranty. That content is important and valuable to Dyson’s customers… but it’s not what’s going to make them want to buy a product. That’s where emotional content comes in.

Emotional content, in this case, might focus on cutting-edge industrial design, eco-friendly bagless technology, or beautiful products that look great in your home. It’s any content that connects with peoples’ emotions and creates a desire to affiliate themselves with the Dyson brand by becoming a customer.

 

Transactional & Emotional model

Emotional content which is inspirational, entertaining, and personal tells people why they should care about what you have to offer – as opposed to numbers, policies and processes, which belong firmly in the transactional content camp.

For employees to connect with your total reward package in a way that drives behavioural change and impacts performance, reward communication cannot ignore emotion.

Inspire and engage before you inform

When you can clearly see the benefits for yourself, it’s easy to assume that giving people all the information will automatically mean they’ll understand what your total reward package is and how it applies to them. But everyone is an individual with different emotional needs, different levels of knowledge, and we all process information and learn in different ways. 

One of our most oft-quoted examples is a client who couldn’t understand why their employees weren’t engaged with their benefits package. They said to us: “But we sent them 180 pages outlining everything, I don’t know what more we could have done!” 

While this might feel like an extreme example, it sums up a common approach to communication: if they don’t get it, just keep sending them more information.

Transactional information alone will connect with very few people. As outlined in both the Dyson and client example above, it’s not enough to simply ‘Inform’ if you want people to engage. Employees need to understand how your offering relates to them and fits with their professional and personal goals and values – you often have to ‘Inspire’ and ‘Engage’ before people are ready to receive information.

How can reward communication inspire, engage and inform?

  • Inspire is all about the bigger picture: your company culture and mission. It speaks to why people should want to work for you and stay working for you. This content should be about what you can offer each other, and the emotional connection between your company and people.
  • Engage is often the toughest to get right. This is where you really need to get to know your people. Ask how they want to engage with you, what fits into their lives and routines, what they find fun. Create a two-way conversation and really listen to them. Think about how you can make this part of your communication interactive and fun: such as quizzes, polls and surveys to share information and get peoples’ thoughts or gauge their understanding.
  • Inform doesn’t mean boring. It’s necessary, but it has to be accessible too. Sending reams of information printed in black and white can be at best disengaging and at worst confusing if people are more visual or experiential thinkers. It’s important to make it easy to understand: simple, bite-sized, and visual.


These three pillars of communication are vital for an effective reward communication strategy. Without emotional and social connections coming first, it’s difficult to communicate on a practical level. This is where a lot of internal communication falls short and gets ignored.

As an agency, we exist to create engaged, happier, and more connected teams within organisations through more effective communication. We love taking the “need to know stuff” and transforming it into a reward communication campaign that’s engaging, inspiring, dynamic, and unique. 

When people can clearly see how their total reward impacts what matters to them, opens up opportunities, and aligns with the culture of the business they’re working for, they value their reward package and feel more valued themselves. This is where an innovative, individual-led approach to reward communication is vital for your reward package to truly be a motivator for your teams.


[1] Notable studies include How Employee Engagement Drives Growth - Gallup 2013, Talent Shortage Survey - Manpower Group 2018, and The State of the Global Workplace - Gallup 2010

Looking for support with your reward communication? That’s what we’re here for.

Get in touch with us and let’s have a conversation.

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Elizabeth Spencer-Phillips

FOUNDING DIRECTOR AND MD