Reach, Recognise, Reward: Why and how to handle employee compensation

Magnetic blocks building shapes on a blue background showcasing employee compensation is a strong foundation for your workplace culture and employee retention

Compensation and rewards are a huge part of an employee’s decision to stay at your company. Here’s what you need to understand about employee compensation culture to retain your people long-term.

This guest post by Deepali Kishtwal was provided to Salt Recruitment as part of their guest blog series offering a fresh perspective on talent acquisition and industry transformation. This guide aims to help businesses in the US retain and engage their workforce.

About 46% of US employees surveyed by Lever revealed that salary and bonuses were their biggest motivation to stay in their position with a company. 

Rewarding your people and engaging your workforce is key to retention. This article discusses the importance of a strong employee compensation culture in a workplace and how it works to both attract new talent and retain your existing staff.

Let’s dive in.

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The importance of employee compensation in a workplace

Compensation in the workplace is how organisations recognise, value, and support their employees’ time and effort. This includes their salaries, bonuses, benefits, and any other rewards you provide.

Employee compensation is a key part of your work culture – and it shapes your overall work environment and has a significant impact on your employees’ mindset and dedication to your organisation.

Skip to 5 ways to build a strong employee compensation culture!

Here are some reasons why a positive approach to employee compensation is essential:

  • Employee satisfaction
    Your employees stay satisfied and motivated when compensated fairly. They’re more likely to be productive, engaged and committed to their work.
  • Talent attraction
    Good employee compensation makes your organisation more attractive to prospective employees. Offering competitive salaries and benefits helps you stand out. 
  • Increased loyalty
    Employees who feel their employers reward their efforts show up more regularly. They’re happier, more engaged, and therefore more willing to go the extra mile to benefit your organisation. 
  • Healthier, happier workforce
    Employee compensation goes beyond salaries—healthcare, retirement plans, and work-life balance are benefits employees really value. You can contribute to a healthier and happier workforce by prioritising employee well-being, and reducing stress and burnout.
  • Innovation and creativity
    Your employees are more likely to be more innovative and creative and take calculated risks to benefit the organisation when you eliminate their compensation-related concerns. 

A positive approach to employee compensation is integral to a healthy and thriving workplace. To remain competitive and keep offering your employees the best rewards and benefits, it’s essential to assess and adjust pay structures per market trends regularly. 

Here’s 4 ways to secure the best talent in a competitive market!

5 ways to offer competitive employee compensation that attracts and retains top talent

1. Offer equity to your employees

Offering your employees a share of your company through stock options or grants is a smart way to motivate and keep them around. When your company does well, they do well too. 

Here are the different types of equity compensation you can offer:

  • Stock options: Your employees can buy company stock at a set price, usually over a period of time.
  • Enterprise management incentives: It’s a UK-based scheme that many startups and growing companies use to incentivise their workforce. Enterprise management incentives valuation is an essential step to determine the market value of the shares. Make sure to obtain an independent valuation from a qualified valuer—someone with relevant experience and expertise in valuing shares for tax purposes. 
  • Restricted stock units (RSUs): In this scenario, while your employees can buy stocks from the company, they can’t sell them immediately. They have to wait until they ’vest’ i.e. after spending a set time with the company as an employee.

Just remember, equity is a long-term benefit. Employees should think of it as a way to build wealth over time. It’s also important to clearly communicate how it works and any tax implications. Always make sure your equity plans follow the rules and laws of your area.

2. Make a favourable parental leave policy

Only 23% of Americans have access to paid parental leave. That means the rest of them just make do with what their organisations offer them—lesser and unpaid leaves. 

By investing infavourable parental leave policies, you’re showing your employees that you care by letting them spend quality time with their newborns without worrying about finances. 

Here’s how to create an effective parental leave policy:

  • Specify who is eligible for parental leave. Common criteria include length of service, full-time or part-time status, and legal or adoptive parenthood.
  • Define the duration of parental leave—it may vary for birthing mothers, fathers, non-birthing parents, and adopting parents.
  • Decide whether the leave you offer will be paid, unpaid, or a combination.
  • Specify when and how employees should inform the company of their intention to take parental leave.
  • Consider allowing flexibility in the scheduling of parental leave. Some employees prefer to take it consecutively, while others want to take it intermittently.
  • Ensure that employees who take parental leave are protected from job loss or negative consequences upon their return.
  • Determine whether employee benefits (e.g., health insurance, retirement contributions) will continue during parental leave and communicate this to employees.

Structuring your parental leave policy well demonstrates your organisation’s commitment to supporting employees during important life events – which shows you’re invested in them now and in the future as their needs change.  

3. Provide upskilling and learning opportunities

Investing in your staff’s growth and development is an excellent way of recognising their contribution and showcasing your willingness to invest in their future. It also enhances their skills and ensures your workforce is keeping pace with your competition and the market. With an ever-growing skills gap employees and employers must both contend with, this is a key aspect to consider.   

Here’s how to offer upskilling and learning opportunities effectively:

  • Conduct surveys or interviews to understand your employees’ learning needs, career goals, and areas where they’d like to upskill.
  • Provide diverse learning options, including online courses, e-learning platforms, workshops, certification programs, on-the-job training, conferences, and industry events.
  • Ensure that learning resources are easily accessible to all employees, regardless of location or work schedule.
  • Offer financial support for course fees, textbooks, or certification exams. This can include full or partial reimbursement of expenses related to approved learning activities.
  • Implement a Learning Management System (LMS) that enables employees to access, track, and manage their learning progress.
  • Work with your employees to create personalised learning plans that align with their career goals and the organisation’s needs.

Helping your employees grow will empower your workforce to grow and adapt to changing demands. You’ll be able to strengthen your talent pool and grow your company’s ROI significantly. 

Here’s how to unleash your employees’ full potential!

4. Offer good insurance plans

Only 57% of private industry workers in the US have access to life insurance in their company. It shows how much still needs to be done to value employee wellness at work. Being an employer that clearly prioritises this goes a long way to standing out to top talent deciding between multiple job offers. 

Here’s how to offer good insurance plans to your employees:

  • Provide a robust health insurance plan that covers a wide range of medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospitalisation, prescription drugs, and preventive care.
  • Offer life insurance coverage to employees, providing financial protection for their families in the event of their passing.
  • Provide disability insurance to ensure that employees continue to receive income if they cannot work due to illness or injury.
  • Establish a retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or a similar defined contribution plan, to help employees save for their future.
  • Allow employees to set aside pre-tax funds in FSAs or HSAs to cover eligible medical expenses and dependent care costs.

Always collaborate with reputable insurance providers to seek guidance and implement plans that best serve your employees and your organisation.

5. Invest in wellness programs

Happier and healthier employees tend to be productive at work. Moreover, they spark a positive energy around them, influencing everyone to work with similar zest. Basically, your employees’ well-being impacts your company culture and overall performance. 

Here’s how to implement wellness programs in your organisation:

  • Offer comprehensive health assessments or screenings to employees
  • Provide access to fitness centres, exercise classes, or gym memberships to encourage physical activity.
  • Organise team challenges or events like step competitions to make fitness fun and engaging.
  • Offer stress management workshops, meditation sessions, or access to mental health professionals.
  • Promote a culture that encourages work-life balance and open communication about mental health.
  • Create ergonomic workstations and encourage proper posture to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal issues.

Investing in wellness programs also reduces absenteeism and lowers your healthcare costs. Moreover, you create a positive workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent while enhancing the overall success of your organisation.

How to measure the effectiveness of your compensation culture

While offering good employee compensation and benefits is important, it’s also important to ensure that it’s contributing to your organisation’s growth and employee satisfaction.

  • Conduct regular surveys to gauge employee satisfaction with the compensation packages and practices.
  • Monitor employee turnover rates, especially among top performers and critical roles.
  • Track retention rates for employee groups, particularly those with specialised skills or experience.
  • Conduct pay equity analyses to identify and rectify gender, race, or demographic-based pay disparities.
  • Evaluate performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for departments or teams.

Carefully evaluate these metrics and conduct ongoing assessments of your employee compensation culture. It’ll help you understand what’s working and what could use improvements. 

Prioritise rewarding your employees ocassionally

When you compensate your employees for their hard work and dedication to your organization, your entire workplace thrives. By prioritising fair and competitive employee compensation packages, and you can create an environment where employees are motivated, engaged, and committed. 

While there any many ways to compensate your employees, the best approach is the one that caters to their needs and aligns with your organisation’s values. So, keep monitoring the impact of your employee compensation strategy and stay on top of compensation trends to provide the best to your employees.

About the Author: 

Deepali Kishtwal is an engineer-turned-freelance writer for B2B SaaS, writing actionable long-form content for marketing, Cybersecurity, and HR-Tech companies. When she’s not writing, she’s engrossed in a cozy murder mystery novel with a cup of hot chocolate!

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