By Pam Thornton
The way that we work has changed over the past several years, and as a result of that shift, our mindset around rewards and recognition for employees also needs to change. We are facing a major rebalancing resulting from the severe economic and social shifts that have emerged.
Gartner reports that one of the top five priorities for 2023 is prioritizing the ‘employee experience, with almost 50% of HR leaders making this a major focus. A well-thought-out ‘total rewards’ strategy can have a big impact on attracting and retaining talent and overall employee experience.
Being a human-resources professional is a harder job than it ever has been before. Developing and using skills to influence how organizations shape their employee experience and human-capital strategies is a critical leadership role and one that cannot be done in the HR department alone. The answer is a holistic approach to total rewards that truly engages employees and includes every member of the organization.
There are five critical components in a total rewards strategy to consider when creating better employee engagement: compensation, benefits, recognition, well-being, and development.
It’s important to evaluate the compensation system you have in place. Do you have a system that is linked to organizational goals and individual competencies? Is your incentive and rewards system doing what it is designed to do? Do the benefits you offer resonate with your employees? Are they using them? An evaluation of the effectiveness of the overall strategy is critical, and the only way to really get the answers to these questions is to ask your employees and include them in the assessment and development of a truly effective total rewards program.
Well-being is all-encompassing and means something different to every individual, which makes this one of the hardest things for us to wrap our arms around. Flexible work practices, mental-health resources, financial-wellness solutions, and expanded caregiver-support options are just some of the building blocks that should be explored when creating your strategy. Offer solutions that give employees what they need and balance the business priorities of the organization. Thinking creatively to achieve the right mix is the ultimate goal.
The final and probably the most important component of a total rewards strategy is development. Developing your own skills and the skills of your workforce should be an ongoing journey that everyone participates in.
If we don’t put our life mask on first, we may not be able to help others. “Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar,” author and leadership expert Orrin Woodward said. Leaders, please be students and use what you’ve learned to inspire, model, and teach.
We have an opportunity to re-engineer the traditional employment experience. Not all organizations are created equal, and we don’t have an endless fountain of resources, but we all collectively need to put the effort in to assess and adjust our total rewards strategy to leverage what we’ve got.
Pam Thornton is director of Strategic HR Services at the Employers Assoc. of the Northeast. This article first appeared on the EANE blog; eane.org