Employers urged to tackle reward communication


Employers urged to tackle reward communication

Reward communication with employees need to be vastly improved, according to a survey carried out by Vebnet, in conjunction with HR Magazine.

The latest annual survey showed that 59% of employers claim their staff know where to access information about benefits, yet only 36% of them actually carry out feedback to find out what staff want from their benefits. Only 38% of organisations reckon they have a clear, consistent brand for all reward and benefits communications.


Richard Morgan, director of consultancy services at Vebnet, said: “The key to success will be to deliver the right strategies at the right time. Communication will be a vital component to this and yet, in spite of some signs of improvement compared with last year’s results, many companies are still not communicating their rewards effectively.”

He added: “If employers are going to achieve their objective of creating a highly engaged workforce then they will need to make sure employees fully understand, appreciate and value their reward package and, in turn, that this reinforces behaviours and performance.”

Morgan reckons that if benefits packages are expected to become more sophisticated in order to deliver the glittering prize of engagement, staff will need to fully comprehend what’s being offered to them. Sadly, as was the case in last year's survey, clarity and understanding are sorely lacking across UK companies and public-sector organisations. In fact, 53% of survey participants said there is a lack of employee understanding or appreciation around benefits.

“It’s a woeful loss of opportunity, because these organisations are obviously offering benefits but are failing to gain employee recognition and are therefore failing to improve engagement levels on the back of their packages,” said Morgan. “Communication is clearly at fault, and must be tackled as a matter of urgency.”

Importance of engagement

The issue of employee engagement has increased dramatically since the last survey, with 51% of HR professionals saying this is their most pressing concern, compared with 34% last year. The other main people issues emerging from the survey were performance (54.%) and planning for the future (54.2%).

Morgan said: “This is a strong indication that employers recognise that a lot of hard work will be required to regain employees’ motivation following job losses, pay freezes and reductions in benefits in 2009. There may well be a sense that employees will soon expect some payback after being hit so hard in the pocket.”

Flexibility of reward leaps up the agenda

Reward issues highlighted in the survey included salary competitiveness which is in the lead with 47%, followed by flexibility of reward to meet the needs of the business, cited by 39% compared with only 15% last year. Flexibility of reward to meet the needs of employees also saw a huge jump at 28% compared with only 11% last year.

“As we see all the way through the research this year, there’s been a huge shift towards recognising the need for more engagement, and offering flexibility is a vital means of doing so,” said Morgan. “There’s a definite sense that ‘one size fits all’ isn’t good enough if you expect to improve engagement levels.”

Want to know more?

Title: HR Reward Survey 2010, Human Resources magazine in association with Vebnet, April 2010.

Survey details: A total of 348 HR directors and benefits heads responded to the online poll.

Availability: For a copy of the full report email: info@vebnet.com.

Vebnet is a “market-leading provider of reward and benefits services to the world’s most progressive employers and is part of the Standard Life Group”. For more information visit www.vebnet.com.

Human Resources is a monthly magazine “for senior HR decision makers and a must have for all the latest industry news, analysis and appointments”. Details on how to subscribe are available at www.hrmagazine.co.uk.