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The Benefits of Benefits and Some Thoughts on What Total Compensation Statements Should Say in this Bad Economy

The Benefits of Benefits and Some Thoughts on What Total Compensation Statements Should Say in this Bad Economy

by Frank Roche on December 22, 2008

in Benefits

Benefits have always been important, but now they’re taking on added importance in this down economy. Total comp statements are going to have to be retooled to decrease emphasis on wealth creation and pump up the volume on the value of benefits. Never before has having medical insurance looked so sweet.

Now’s the time for HR to rethink how they present the value of employment. Sure, you want to tout what you’re providing, but that’s a little like trying to make a person feel good about a purchase after they’ve made it. I’d recommend a two-part strategy:

  1. For Current Employees. The people who work for you now need to hear about employment stability as much as they do about C&B facts and figures. If you want to get the most out of your total comp statement this year, tell them a few stories about what your company is doing to make it in this economy. Let employees know that you’re working for them and that you’re planning to be in the race for the long run.
  2. For Prospective Employees. Employees are nervous. Petrified. And when they’re not frozen in place, they’re jumpy. The best employees have lots of options — the job market hasn’t dried up for great talent. And the good ones are paying attention to what’s going on in the market. Telling your total compensation message to them is more important now than ever. They want to hear that you’re going to be doing great tings — and that you’re standing firm while lesser companies quake.

I’ve been around long enough to see lots of things come and go. We’ll get through this. In fact, if HR is clever, it will recognize this as a time to redefine what’s important at their company and emphasize those things that will sustain them. Touting the benefit of benefits and using the total compensation statement as a real communication device is the way to go in early 2009.

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