4 Steps to Great Total Rewards Statements

Shawnee Love   •  
January 29, 2015

A great total rewards statement conveys the benefits and value of your unique mix of offerings to your employees. Here is how to create your Total Rewards Statement in 4 steps:

First and foremost, plan out what you want the statement to say. Carefully consider all of the benefits, perks, incentives, bonuses, and intangibles your organization offers to employees and decide which you are going to showcase in this document and how best to do it. Consider order, length of the letter, wordiness, etc. when deciding what to do.

Important:  Don’t plan to highlight something the employee is legally entitled to.  E.g., No one is going to be excited about a harassment free workplace or accurate pay unless you didn’t have those things before (I don’t know too many companies willing to admit that in writing though).

Then, design the statement to be personalized and reader friendly.  Think about the letter from the reader’s perspective.  Make it easy to read with large font, pictures and/or graphs, and ensure it is well organized and laid out.  Choose language that is easy to understand and avoid jargon and acronyms at all cost.

Take great pains to ensure you are deadly accurate for each and every employee. A single mistake erodes the credibility of the statement and undermines the perceived value not only of the statement but of the entire package you offer.  This is one area where the devil is 100% in the details.

These 3 steps will give you a solid reward statement.

However, to make your reward statement have real influence, take the time to showcase what all those “rewards” actually mean, i.e., provide context.

For example, if one of your intangible rewards is that people get to work for a company that cares about its community, then note how much time or money you donated to the community and what if anything was accomplished as a result.  Did you pay for a team’s jerseys, or build a home? Perhaps put your community involvement in its own section on the rewards statement and identify each contribution you made over the year, or simply highlight a single success story.  Take the opportunity to point out what your company does because while reward statements are supposed to point out all the rewards for an individual employee, that doesn’t have to exclude the rewards they share in like a great culture, community involvement, excellent company reputation, top tier talent, etc.

This kind of self promotion is hard for some owners, but on the other hand, if you don’t point out what people get for working with you, how can you expect them to know? You don’t have to brag, but you should provide information.  One trick I use is to consider these reward statements as Retention Statements– or “Reasons to Stay with Company XYZ“.

I find this simple repositioning will open up the field of content for those letters dramatically.  Of course, for this type of letter to be effective, you need to really understand why your employees stay with you. But then, you really need to know that anyway.

Good luck with your total rewards statements, or should I say Retention Statements. T4 season is a great time to be doing them.