Using HR Tech to Optimize Your Total Rewards Investment


Aon Hewitt recently released their 2012 Total Rewards Survey – a brilliant and thorough 84 page examination of “everything an employee gets from the employer that they find rewarding”.  They found companies fail to align total rewards strategy to business outcomes, fail to gather hard data and metrics and fail to listen to current and future employees. They point out it is cost and competitiveness (both misunderstood and misapplied), which drive total rewards programs and not program effectiveness or employee preferences. And they show that the difference between high-performing and all other companies is not the programs offered, but how they are executed.

This prompted an article from Andrew McIlvaine entitled “Not So Totally Rewarding”, wherein he examines the disengagement gap between what employees value and what employers believe they value.


The over-riding message in both works is the importance of communication – sharing information with and listening to employees – in order to optimize your total rewards.  Add to this the importance of engagement, alignment and ultimately productivity and we see at the heart of this discussion is the very success of any organization.

To be successful a company needs to understand what their employees value most in return for their time and effort. The better a company’s understanding, the better they can influence their employees’ productivity by optimizing their investment in total rewards.

Many companies today blindly offer their employees benefits without ever asking the recipients whether or not the benefits they receive even matter. This is because it is far easier to purchase a benefits package and say you are offering as good as any other employer.

This is akin to inviting company over for supper without asking them about preferences, allergies and dietary restrictions.  Company will visit the first time, but are increasingly less likely to come again – especially when you don’t take into account their preferences the next time.  Word spreads and pretty soon you are left wondering why no one will accept your dinner invitations. The promise of food and friendship loses its attractiveness because it becomes clear you do not care about your guests. Even if you offer more expensive food and drink; people won’t come.

Companies can find out what their employees want in many different ways.  Surveys work. So do focus groups. While these traditional methods work well, they are limited in that they are normally periodic instead of continuous. Focus groups are selective, instead of all-encompassing.  Preferences change over time so unless you make listening the norm instead of an occasional thing, you risk missing important opportunities.

A new approach is needed!

Today companies have the option of leveraging HR software with integrated social business technologies to communicate better with their employees – sharing your key messages and in turn listening to them.  To start, personalized, automated total rewards statements that are dynamic and share real-time information can clearly communicate benefits and compensation to employees.  Then, by integrating social tools into your automated benefits process, employees can comment, tag, rate and share their preferences about their benefits.  The icing on the cake is to use a HR metrics and reporting to accurately track benefits metrics, identify emerging trends, evaluate the effects of new programs, identify key influencers on this topic within your company and arm yourself with the facts needed to make increasingly smarter decisions.

Automated benefis solutions then make it easy for companies to offer several different options to employees, let them quickly and easily learn about each option, run scenarios to see what best fits their needs and sign up for the ones they want.

Suddenly your total rewards are better understood and valued by employees because they are attuned to their preferences, flexible enough to keep pace with their changing priorities, and simple for employees to access and update whenever the need, wherever they are.

Key points to consider:

  • Begin by defining what outcomes you want to achieve
  • Find the right solution to help you achieve these outcomes
  • Ensure you have metrics in place and track to your progress

Starting to dialogue with employees may seem risky and unfamiliar at first.  The good news is that these types of projects have been successfully launched in numerous companies already.  Vendors can put you in touch with their clients so you can hear directly from them how things went and their lessons learned.

In summary: simple to implement, easy for employees to use, affordable total rewards solutions for enterprises can dramatically improve communication, employee engagement and productivity by enabling you optimize your existing investments in total rewards.

>> What have been your experiences with total rewards at your company?

>> Do you get employee feedback and tailor your total rewards to their preferences?  If so – what changes were made and what was the result?

>> What objectives would you want to achieve with your total rewards program?  What barriers do you face in achieving these objectives?

>> How would your ideal HR software solution help you make changes and meet your objectives?

Karl Tischler, Marketing Director, cfactor Works Inc. @cfactorworks

Put cfactorto work for you!  Learn about cfactor’s Total Rewards Statements and enterprise Enterprise Intranet Communications solutions. Contact us if you have a question you do not want to post here, would like to learn more or receive a cfactor Works HR software demo.

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