Supporting Compensation and Benefits Programs with a Total Rewards Philosophy

Julie Bingham
September 15, 2016

Supporting Compensation and Benefits Programs with a Total Rewards Philosophy

When it comes to total rewards, it’s important to identify your employment story, or employment proposition, and evaluate how your compensation and benefits programs reflect and support it. In this episode of the FirstPerson video blog, I sat down with Managing Director Mark Minner to talk about total rewards. Watch the video or read the transcript below. 

Mark Minner: Well, we welcome you back into FirstPerson's video blog series. Mark Minner joined by Advisor Julie Bingham. Glad to have you join us as we continue. We're talking about total rewards and benefits this month. And, Julie, when we've been out talking to clients throughout the summer, it's been evident that folks are concerned about increasing healthcare inflation, the trend cost going up. That means that at the end of the day, benefits costs are going up and that can have an effect on the employee's pocket as well.

Julie Bingham: Absolutely. If you're faced with the decision of if you can ask your employees to pay more toward their healthcare costs, you have to have a more confident and informed ability to talk about compensation, and not every organization is prepared to do that.

MM: So, let's use this as an example: If I was an employee and you were the employer, and you came to me and you said, "Look, our healthcare costs are increasing, we're going to have to increase the cost out of your paycheck by $50-$100 a month," something like that, how would you message that to the employee?

JB: Well, that's a great question. If I was the employee, I might be in a position where I'd say, "I'm not sure I can absorb this cost. I don't feel like I'm paid enough." And as the employer, you really want to be able to say, "We've got data, we've got information, and we have a philosophy to support our decision on individual pay. And we feel like you're paid competitively and are in a position to be rewarded appropriately so that you can take on these costs and still feel like you have a great opportunity here at this organization."

MM: And really, Julie, it's not just about one conversation with employees. It's not just about one year. It's about really building a runway, building a philosophy that's going to last a long time.

JB: It's true, it's true. We have one client whose compensation philosophy clearly says, "Can you make more money somewhere else? Absolutely. But here are the reasons employees choose to stay here." You have to be ready to talk about that, because you might not be leading in compensation. You might have great benefits, great culture, great opportunity that has a premium that will affect your ability to pay as well, because you've chosen to invest in different things. If you're in that position, you want to be ready to talk about it. You don't want to be apologizing for the low pay and hope that they stay anyway. It really comes back to the philosophy.

MM: Well, so if you think about it, Julie, for folks who are hearing this for the first time, may want to dip their toe in the water in this space; how do they get in the game?

JB: I think the first key is executive leadership. You need to invest in the time to have the conversations. As a team, what kind of employer do we want to be? Where do we want compensation to fall in relation to our other rewards programs? And how are we going to talk about it to our recruits, to our employees? And not just leave that conversation where someone's walking out the door, and they say compensation is the reason they're leaving.

MM: I appreciate your time and your insight. That's Julie Bingham, Advisor at FirstPerson. That concludes this episode of the FirstPerson video blog series.

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