Want to make your Reward communications sing? Follow four simple rules…

How do you unlock the (significant) value of your Reward programmes? There are three key ingredients:

  • Cutting-edge tech that gives your Reward programmes the game-changing speed, connectivity, and analytical capabilities to be fully agile and impactfully effective.
  • Investment in the financial literacy of your employees. This ensures that your workforce can assess and extract true value from their Reward. 
  • Clear, compelling, two-way communication that – done well – has the power to transform all your behind-the-scenes effort and investment into authentic employee engagement.

Reward Forward

This February, forward-thinking Reward professionals from around the world gathered in London at Neovation’s Reward Forward. The backdrop to the conversation was a shared concern. While the fast-changing employment landscape is making it ever more critical for organisations to get Reward right, Reward practices are actually stagnating.

Rising living costs are squeezing financial wellbeing, making Reward the frontline in the ongoing competition over talent. Workforce demographics are shifting, with younger generations demanding more from the employee experience. Their ask? Authentic workplace relationships, within a world that is digital, flexible, and personalised.

Here, then, is the first rule of effective Reward communication…

Effective Reward communication  starts with listening.

If Reward is going to strike a chord, it must reflect what your employees want, need, and value. Don’t assume that you know what forms of Reward will be most attractive to them. Ask. Respond. And keep that two-way dialogue flowing.  By remaining interested and responsive you will elicit engagement and understand how to evolve your Reward to fit the needs of today.

Balance the transactional with the emotional

Listening closely to your employees solves another obstacle that can plague smooth Reward communication. That’s the fully-understandable HR tendency to see Reward as a transactional process and to forget that – for employees – it has significant emotional impact.

This isn’t simply because Reward determines lifestyle and lifestyle choices. It’s also because Reward is a visible expression of the value an organisation sees in a person. It speaks to appreciation, status, and future opportunity.

Organisations that positively express the value they feel for their employees build emotional, human links between individuals and the company. These connections are vital for long-term loyalty and effort.

This is why Recognition is such an important component of Reward. An organisation may not be able to offer field-leading financial compensation, but – by communicating value through recognising, and voicing gratitude for, individual contribution – it addresses the emotional aspect of Reward.

Connect all the Reward dots

Another effective way to ensure that you build these emotional connections is by actively communicating the multi-faceted nature of Reward. In other words, both traditional Reward – compensation, bonus, equity, benefits – and the other ways in which the organisation invests in the employee experience, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, career path opportunities, and wellbeing.

These links need to be voiced explicitly, so that they are perceived as part of the Reward that comes from the organisation. This, again, links back to maintaining an ongoing conversation with employees. Rather than only communicating Reward during your Benefits Selection window, or during bonus conversations, you can use the cultural aspects of Reward to show the investment your organisation makes in employees throughout the year.

Use the right channels

Ashok Pillai, Senior Vice President, Reward and Wellbeing, was one of the speakers at Reward Forward. He highlighted communication as the means to bridge the gap between the cost of reward programmes, and the value they generate.

For Ashok, the key to this communication is where it comes from. For Reward messaging to make a full impact, it has to come through leaders, both in terms of your top-level messaging, and – at the individual level – through line managers to employees. This means aligning Reward communication so that the messaging remains consistent, whilst supporting line managers to own and deliver this information effectively.

Thinking of line managers as one of your key channels for Reward communication has another positive outcome. It ensures that information reaches all employees, including those who work on the front line, or who are out on the road, with less frequent access to virtual comms. So, line manager communication drives equity of access to information, encourages personalised conversation around Reward, and brings to life the investment that your organisation puts into its people.

Clear. Compelling. Human. Everything that Reward should be.