TRS – things to consider when rolling out globally25.08.20
Global Benefits Director
Over the last 10-12 years, Total Reward Statements (TRS) have become the norm in the UK as a means of communicating the true value of an employee’s reward and benefits package. Along with the anticipated financial difficulties ahead, we’re expecting to see a reduction in salary increases and bonuses, so employers are placing real emphasis on the whole package (and what that can mean for the individual employee) as an effective recruitment and retention tool. According to our customers, it’s essential that employees understand their total reward over the next few years as the true cost of Covid-19 takes effect.
With that in mind, you may want to ensure that your employees outside the UK also receive the same insight into their total compensation and don’t just jump ship for a ‘more attractive’ salary.
TRS as part of your global strategy
Launching TRS globally could be one of your first steps in rolling out a global strategy for your employees. Some of our customers have chosen to provide TRS before moving to an online platform for their benefits. Others have taken the step of implementing an online benefits platform first, then incorporating TRS at stage two. There are many factors that can influence how you prioritise your rollouts, particularly in terms of how your benefits plan compares to that of your peers’. In some cases, launching TRS before your benefits are up to scratch may raise questions about whether your package is competitive, which can have the opposite effect to its intention. However, by running an audit and benchmarking exercise beforehand, you can make any necessary changes before your TRS launch.
One point to remember is that – outside of a small number of countries - TRS is either a new or unknown concept. Employees may never have seen this before and therefore communication and education will be critical to ensuring that it is both fully understood and appreciated.
Where it would be effective
When looking to roll out TRS, many of our customers look at where the benefits landscape is plentiful, and therefore has a lot of investment behind it. In these scenarios, we would always advise to include TRS to maximise engagement, but the richness of available benefits isn’t the only factor to consider.
If we look at France for example, benefit choice there is likely to be limited – employees do not often have a range of options. But, state benefits and compulsory collective benefits all form part of the employee package, and these can be costly to the employer. When you consider the allowances available for commuting and lunch, the total compensation an employee can receive is far higher than at first glance. That in itself is worthy of bringing to the attention of employees.
Where employee benefits are mostly state mandated, the first reaction is to think they are of ‘little value’ however we have seen that this is not the case. There are likely to be perks or allowances that aren’t immediately visible, yet still represent an employee’s total reward and compensation package.
What to include on TRS
Our recommendation is to begin by carrying out a full audit of all benefits, allowances and perks that an employee is entitled to. Usually, this would be done at the point of audit for any benchmarking exercise, or when planning the implementation of a benefits platform.
- Without doubt, all core benefits paid for by the company should be included
- Then, any additional discounted benefits
- Any benefit where an element is paid for, such as a life plan with the option to top up.
Good to include:
- Travel cover
- Canteen provision
- Use of mobile phones
- Even fruit and snacks in the office
Our experience has shown that these types of perks worth noting as a reminder to the employee, however no financial value can be applied:
- In Asia, tradition compels companies to offer payments or vouchers on birthdays and name days as well as provide cakes at points of the year such as Autumn.
- If you give people their birthday as a bonus day off, then this can be included.
The topic of allowances always raises a question mark with some companies. Naturally, there are some elements that should be included:
- Childcare support
- Season ticket purchases
However if an allowance is mandated by the state or union – such as for travel or meals – we are in a bit of a grey area. While the employee does receive this, the company is obliged to provide it. A growing number of our customers consider this as an expense that benefits an employee and should therefore feature on a TRS.
With the increase in both importance and understanding of wellbeing benefits, TRS is a good way of communicating these and their value.
- Wellbeing days (or ‘doona’ days)
- Access to an Employee Assistance Programme
- Specific health and wellbeing programmes and support.
Taking into account the situation, anything you provide to enable employees to work remotely could also be included on TRS as a way of highlighting how you’re supporting your employees. In conjunction too with wellbeing initiatives, increased health checks and assessments to ensure employees are supported during the distanced measures, this may also need to be included.
Communicating your TRS
One further consideration is how you communicate this to employees. While you may have English as the business language, a TRS statement in a local language is very powerful. We have seen some very compelling feedback from customers who have taken steps to include TRS for their global locations in local languages. In doing this, the impacted employees are likely to be amongst the early adopters; something which will create a great impression with their colleagues.
Overall, if you have benefits in place – state-mandated or otherwise – then it’s worth highlighting their value to your employees. But TRS does so much more than showcase salary and benefits – in all corners of your workforce, your perks, wellbeing initiatives, and even the physical equipment you provide will be making a huge difference to your people. Why not help them see the big picture?
Need help building your business case? Have a look at our guide on how to make your case for global employee benefits technology!
Paul joined Benefex from Mercer in 2019 with a wealth of international benefits experience, having worked with a large number of high-profile, multinational clients to review their approach to global talent and reward. He leads Benefex’s global benefits delivery team and he’s doing an excellent job of it, if we may say so ourselves. He is skilled in international risk assessment and management, legislative compliance, trend research, cross-border claims, and customer relationship management. AND, he can speak fluent French, mais oui!