By Claudine Kapel
A new study by Monster.com says workers on the hunt for a new job are asking a lot more questions about benefits than they did a few years ago.
While the study covered U.S. job hunters, the findings underscore the value of good total rewards communication – which is equally relevant to Canadian employers.
The majority of job hunters surveyed put “a company that truly cares about the well-being of employees” at the top of their lists of what they’re looking for. While Canada’s publically funded health care system changes the nature of the benefits equation when compared to the U.S., the interesting item for Canadian employers to note is that even in the U.S, where employee benefits replace a social safety net, employees still do not have a firm understanding of the value of their packages. Communication thus becomes key.
The study found employee feelings about the financial protection offered by an employer correlated strongly with feelings about the company’s level of caring. The study indicated that for employers, merely offering benefits such as disability coverage and life insurance is not enough to be perceived as caring -- effective communication that helps employees understand the value of their coverage is also critical.
In fact, the study found that workers who had disability and life insurance benefits did not necessarily rate their companies as more caring than those who did not have them. According to the study, what mattered was whether they understood that their benefits provided a measure of financial protection. “Those who did were far more likely to feel that their companies cared.”
The study concluded that when it comes to benefits such as short-term and long-term disability coverage and life insurance, “companies will need to help workers understand their benefits as not so many programs and plans, but as an umbrella of financial protection to care for them and their families.”
That conclusion highlights not only the value of good communications about total rewards, but also the value of packaging information thoughtfully to create a powerful employer brand. Employees need to understand the elements of their employment deals before they can fully appreciate and value what an organization offers.
And such understanding is critical if an organization is to fully leverage its total rewards offering to attract, retain and engage talent. Otherwise, like some of the respondents in the Monster study, employees may not feel that their organization truly cares.
Claudine Kapel is principal of Kapel and Associates Inc., a Toronto-based human resources and communications consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of compensation and total rewards programs. For more information, visit www.kapelandassociates.com.