The modern employee value proposition: compensation is the foundation

September 24, 2019

The workforce is changing. Emerging skill sets, multiple generations in the workforce, the increase of “gig” workers/contractors, and rapid advancements in technology are creating a very different workplace. Employee expectations are also changing with flexibility, wellness, and development opportunities all ranking high in importance. To continue attracting top talent, employers must think beyond traditional rewards to differentiate themselves and define an employee experience that will make the right talent want to join, stay, and deliver their best performance. As stated in Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2019, “…the traditional mantra of ‘attract and retain’ is being replaced with ‘attract and continually attract.’” Even as the workplace evolves and expectations change, there is one thing that remains constant: compensation is the foundation where everything else is built.

Creating a compelling employee value proposition starts with the traditional, contractual elements — specifically, elements related to competitive compensation practices. You still have to get the foundation right: a company needs to establish a solid rewards package consisting of competitive compensation and benefits. Doing so needs to become second nature – your annual review, compensation planning, and maintenance of your rewards program should allow you to easily align and adjust your positioning to the market and your own internal rewards philosophy. Once that’s on ‘auto-pilot,’ only then can you take the next step: innovating with differentiated rewards. Providing more tailorable compensation and benefits offerings, often tied to different employee personas, has become an integral part of competing in the talent-demand economy.

Transparency in Compensation

Naturally, employees want assurance that they’re being paid fairly, and they also want to know that they’re receiving recognition for their contributions. And, thanks to technological advancements and the rise in online discussion forums, many employees now have access to data and other insights that let them access crowdsourced data that suggests the value of their jobs. Additionally, laws and regulations are being passed or introduced that elevate the employer’s responsibility and the employee’s expectation around pay transparency. It’s becoming more important to be able to confidently, clearly explain why someone is paid what they are paid and how that decision was made.

The importance of salary benchmarking is greater than ever in this environment of transparency. Studying the market can reveal pay inequities, trends in salary movement, and emerging hot jobs, providing the insights an organization needs to stay competitive. To do this, many organizations rely on salary surveys to gauge the attractiveness of their pay packages by comparing them to their competitors and to the market. These comparisons can be broken down by geographical location, industry, company size, and so on, for greater precision and effectiveness. A strategy backed by market data allows an organization to ensure competitiveness in this more transparent environment.

Going Beyond Compensation

Though standard salary calculations continue to empower HR professionals, total rewards packages are also becoming more open to personalization. In many instances, personalized compensation packages have already become common in the modern workplace, providing employees with many more options than previous generations had. Total rewards personalization can come in many forms, including:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Flexible PTO policies that allow for more work life balance
  • Truly customizable offerings for medical, life, and disability insurance

Personalization is not possible, though, without increased employer flexibility, particularly when it comes to adaptation. For example, in the US, 90% of surveyed organizations said they have introduced (65%) or are considering introducing (25%) a flexible start/leave program, per the US Compensation Policies & Practices Survey. The same survey also revealed that 88% of surveyed organizations have already introduced (52%) or are considering introducing (36%) programs that allow employees to liberally work from home. In Canada, 63% of surveyed organizations said they offer flexible work hours and more than 60% said they offer a formal or informal “flexplace” policy for individual professionals, per the CA Compensation Policies & Practices Survey.

Despite the increasingly diverse selection of new perks and benefits that are being demanded by today's professionals and offered by organizations, it's important to remember that a solid foundation is key. It is imperative that you get compensation right and then build from there to differentiate your organization in order to attract the best and brightest. Learn how compensation data can help you establish the foundation for an attractive and unique employee value proposition.