Optimizing total rewards in a downturn

Publicizing existing benefits increases perceived value without adding cost
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/10/2009

Earlier this year, Tim Hortons published its first total rewards statements for employees, outlining all the things employees receive but may not appreciate at work — which include competitive base salaries, retirement savings plans, incentive programs, service awards, health benefits, learning and development and the work environment. The paper copies could be taken home and shared with families of the 1,800 corporate employees, says Michelle Preyde, senior director of corporate HR at Tim Hortons in Oakville, Ont.

“It’s more of a philosophy for us — it’s not just about compensation and benefits, it’s about the total offering of the company,” she says. “We want to be competitive with the base pay offering and incentive offering and we want to be the leader in non-cash rewards, offer those things that make a difference to employees in terms of their working experience.”

Even before the economic downturn, employers were realizing increased, well-articulated communication around total rewards was highly valuable. Total reward statements and portals show employees the whole picture and help them understand what’s in it for them. This increases the perceived value without actually costing additional money, says Ofelia Isabel, a principal in the Toronto office of Towers Perrin.