Total Rewards or Talent Investment?

Total Rewards. We’ve all heard the term. Many of us have built, developed, implemented and iterated Total Rewards programs. Now as I transition from being an in-house HR and Total Rewards Executive to a full-time consultant, I often wonder did we have it all wrong? Should we have called ourselves Talent Investment leaders?What I built wasn’t a “rewards program.” I built a philosophy and strategy to invest in the future performance of my employees and in the future of my organization.

Take compensation as an example. If you ask an HR leader what their organization’s compensation philosophy is, they will often say, “pay for performance.” While we should provide promotions, pay increases and bonuses based on performance, many organizations reward employees for a job alreadydone, for an employee’s past performance. Yes, we need to recognize employees for the work they have done, but promotions and pay increases should focus on motivating employees for work they have to perform. If we as leaders shift our perspective and start viewing compensation less as a reward and more as a tool to help drive employee development and motivation, then we are investing in the future of our employees and therefore in the future of our organizations.

Employee Benefits programs are another example. These programs generally fall under the Total Rewards umbrella. But, how can an employee’s health and wellbeing be a reward? We want our employees (and their families) to get and stay healthy – physically, emotionally and mentally. We therefore provide medical insurance, onsite gyms and Employee Assistance Programs to name a few. As employers, we are building the infrastructure and investing the money in our talent so they can lead happy and productive lives, and be more present at work and at home.

If we stop thinking of pay and benefits as rewards and start looking at them as investments, then we also start viewing our employees as people. By creating a valuable and meaningful employee experience we are creating a mutually beneficial environment where our employees feel taken care of and respected and, in turn, increase their commitment and engagement to the organization.

Talent that is engaged, aligned with your work culture, and motivated to be their best speaks to your company’s values. If you would like to connect on this topic or if you’re ready to develop truly effective talent, contact us.

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