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13 Nov 2023
by Alex Dunning

Top tips: how a total reward statement can help recruit and retain employees

Transparency is key to letting employees – both current and prospective – see how good the future with you could be

Top tips: how a total reward statement can help recruit and retain employees.jpg 2


A Total Rewards Statement (TRS) is a your best tool for unlocking employee engagement and retention. In its most basic form it gives employees a snapshot of their compensation, but it can be much more than.

And with reward transparency legislation marching ever onwards, generational and post-pandemic employee expectations continuing to evolve, and technology solutions proliferating, simply offering a basic statement is increasingly looking like a hygiene factor rather than a differentiator.

The TRS can be used to illustrate your full investment in your team’s wellbeing, align with your EVP and resonate with your company culture.

Here are our top tips for harnessing the potential of TRS.

1. Showcase the package

Providing employees with a breakdown of the company’s investment in benefits and perks beyond direct compensation can significantly enhance their understanding and appreciation of the total value they receive.

This level of transparency doesn’t just spotlight the most tangible (the cash); it underscores your commitment to your employees’ total wellbeing. Education and motivation are two of your key levers to fend off turnover.

By illuminating the full spectrum of their compensation, employees are likely to feel more valued and equitable and encouraged to make the most of their benefits.

2. Make your TRS available to recruits

If the potential recruit already has a TRS that details the value of every benefit at their existing employer, your TRS-less offer will be under pressure to compete with compensation and incentives alone. If they don’t have a TRS already, or from rival offers, including one with yours could be a game changer.

3. Make your EVP part of your culture

Your EVP is the secret ingredient of your work culture. It is your unique set of benefits and values, and integrating it into your TRS is essential: it aligns the tangible rewards with all of the intangible elements that attract, motivate, and retain employees.

By embedding your EVP into your TRS, you create a powerful communication tool that reflects the entirety of the employment experience – from salary and benefits to work/life balance, to professional development opportunities and the cultural nuances that make your workplace unique.

A TRS is, after all, all about showcasing ‘value’ to an employee. A TRS without EVP can only ever be part of the picture. By the same token, a TRS is the perfect place to showcase everything, including the less tangible, that you want an employee to value.

4. Be transparent

Any organisation serious about transparency, in the wider meaning of that word – both communication and the equity it seeks to enshrine – should feel empowered to shout about it.

The EU’s pay transparency directive, and similar legislation appearing in the US and other key markets, sets a benchmark that should put everyone on notice, even outside their jurisdiction that transparency is going from good PR to the law.

Simultaneously, Gen Z’s transparency trendsetters are rewriting the rules on salary secrecy: compared with older generations, they expect more openness from employers and are more likely to discuss compensation with colleagues and peers.

The march towards equity goes hand-in-hand with the march towards transparency. Even if you do not think you are top quartile or competitive in every market, keeping rewards information secret is not the fix. Your employees already know what they earn and, by keeping it discreet, you’re missing the chance to tell them about everything else.

5. Let people see their future with you

As we’ve shown, a TRS can be a fantastic tool for making the case for why an employee is with you now. But why should they continue their career with you, if you’re only showing them what they currently have, not what they could have?

Progression is a part of your EVP. Incentives and equity are a core part of any enhanced TRS. Go a step further – let employees model what total wealth looks like in their future. That can include merit increases, promotions, short-and long-term incentives, share plans and equity.

Modelling allows employees to see how business outcomes affect their rewards. External offers have a far harder time tempting an employee away when they can already see their growth path with you.

By being transparent, by letting them visualise their potential wealth and career trajectory, and by infusing your EVP into the fabric of your TRS, you’re engaging them on a deeper level. You’re giving them reasons to believe in their future with you, which is the ultimate endgame of any employee engagement strategy.

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In partnership with Buck

Buck is a global, integrated HR consulting, benefits administration & technology services provider.

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