Topic: TotalRewards Software

How Total Rewards Marketing Affects Recruiting

total rewards

If you didn’t happen to catch part one of my series, the basic gist is that companies need to be thinking about total rewards as a marketing effort that helps convert employees into happy, engaged, lasting team members.

But what does that mean for someone who’s not even on the team yet?

Total Rewards marketing is the next step in the evolution of total compensation—and especially important during the offer stage. Let’s be honest: a static PDF offer is pretty lackluster. After all, it usually isn’t very personalized to your candidate, and it can do your company a disservice by not fully communicating all that your offer has to, well, offer.

When you engage candidates as though they are customers and make benefits the focus of your marketing approach, candidates see the full value of your offer and you end up with higher quality hires who don’t drop off right at the last moment or join the team feeling less than excited. Win-win.

Competition for Talent Is Fierce

A Hiring Tsunami. The 2021 Rush. The War for Talent. No matter how you describe it, there’s no question that the competition to attract and close top talent is fiercely raging on.

If you want to stand out, you need to create an experience from the very beginning. Apply your total rewards marketing efforts to recruiting and draw parallels between the customer experience and the candidate experience. Think about it this way: If you have a bad experience at a store, what are the chances you’ll buy anything or much less be a repeat customer? A recent Forbes article summed it up nicely: The companies that prioritize their candidates and do everything in their power to make them happy and motivated will be the winners in this new era of hiring.

Positive, customized total rewards marketing experiences can help you attract, engage and delight candidates through the entire recruitment process, ensuring they convert to employees at the end.

Candidates Have Developed an Eye for Branding

Sleek and shiny Apple products, streamlined user interfaces, branding and good design are everywhere. Chances are your candidates have noticed. If you’ve put your company’s image on the backburner, especially as it relates to your candidate recruitment, let this be a call to arms to move it up to the front of the queue.


Because good branding shows candidates that you care about your business and your mission, which in turn means you’ll care about them. A rich, web-based total rewards experience that enlightens candidates to your values, mission and culture—bolstered by good branding—can be a game-changer for your recruiting efforts.

Employer branding is typically discussed at the ‘attract’ stage of recruitment (thanks to sites like Glassdoor and others). However, applying that same level of attention during all steps of the hiring process can ensure a smooth transition from one stage to the next.

Total Rewards Marketing for Candidates

Bringing all these concepts together—treating candidates as key constituents, approaching total rewards as a marketing effort, and doing it all with good branding—those are just some of the reasons why I’m so excited about CandidateRewards, our purpose-built recruitment software that allows you to bring real value to your candidate offers (which you can try for free now with our new CandidateRewards Xpress).

When you send a static offer, your only strategy is hope. Send it to an email and cross your fingers they don’t miss it, dismiss it or counter because they can’t see the full value. But with a hyper-personalized offer through a dynamic offer platform, you can send offers that stand out and see where candidates have spent time browsing. Using metrics and tracking, you can tailor your follow-up messages.

Did they spend time on the career paths page? Talk about how your company fosters growth. Were they enamored with the culture section? Be prepared to share stories and ask questions about how your values align. Did they drill down on the personalized total compensation page? Be ready to discuss the details of their comp package.

With CandidateRewards, you can easily show, not tell, your total value. Turn a boring (but vital) stage of the hiring process from a PDF email attachment into a fully customized experience that goes above and beyond to sell your company to future team members. Track metrics and tailor conversations so you can spend less time creating and sending offers and more time welcoming new hires.

The bottom line is that when you treat your total rewards efforts and offer letters as a dynamic, tailored marketing outreach that links to an online offer experience, you provide an engagement opportunity along with the analytics to transform the hiring process and get the right people for your business.

Ray O’Donnell is the founder and CEO of TotalRewards Software. To learn more about effectively marketing total rewards to employees, executives and candidates, get a free trial of TotalRewards Software today.

The Evolution of Total Rewards

total rewards

You’ve no doubt heard of Moore’s Law; the theory that states the speed of computers will increase every couple of years. Well, whatever the Moore’s Law equivalent for Human Resources is, we’re living it right now.

Back when I started, the concept of “total compensation” was just emerging. There wasn’t a dedicated “total rewards” position in the department, and an “attractive” offer included a reasonable salary with health benefits (referred to as fringe benefits).

Since then, I’ve seen companies add everything to their employee rewards programs and candidate offer packages from philanthropic opportunities, tuition reimbursement, pet insurance to flexible vacation and generous parental leave policies. Why? All in the name of attracting and retaining top talent.

Change Is Coming

Let’s stop for a moment to consider some numbers. Microsoft recently reported that 40% of employees in the global workforce were planning to change jobs after the pandemic. Even if that number is off by half, that’s still 1 out of every 5 employees in your company who are going to leave. To view that through the HR lens, on average, it costs 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to replace them (SHRM). Add it all up and HR departments everywhere are facing a huge problem.

Attracting and retaining great talent have always been the top priorities for companies the world over. But they’re often the most challenging tasks the HR department tackles—especially now. It’s a job seeker-friendly market and your potential candidates are expecting more than basic offer letters or once-per-year total compensation communications. Employers must think differently about their recruiting and retention strategies – and the most progressive companies are relying on marketing to help them set their organization apart.

Shifting the Paradigm

Beyond compensation, I’ve seen companies try showcasing the myriad programs they offer or tapping into the trend for philanthropy, work-life balance, and clear career path options. But getting employees to care about any of that is going to require something of a paradigm shift. That’s when an idea hit us: what if we thought of our candidates and employees as customers?

Stay with me on this. If you think about the intersection of attracting new candidates and retaining them once hired, a large component of that is engagement. The same way you might get coupon reminders from Target or alerts about new programs at your gym, that’s the kind of engagement we should be aiming for. With employees as customers, total rewards become total rewards marketing.

We’ve seen companies like A+E have a lot of success treating their total rewards this way. With more than 1,400 creatives employed worldwide, keeping everyone engaged and fulfilled is paramount to the success of the network. Vice President of Total Rewards at A+E, Geraldine Potts, put it very succinctly: “timely communication and transparency are key in HR.” The evolution from hand-delivered paper statements once a year to an online platform ensures their distributed workforce has 24/7 access to valuable total rewards information, new program rollouts, and company announcements.

The Future of Total Rewards Marketing

Having been in this space for over 25 years, I’ve seen firsthand the hard work that goes into developing new programs and introducing new incentives to a workforce. I always feel the sting of disappointment when these endeavors aren’t met with the fanfare they deserve. But engaging employees with a marketing approach where these new benefits are the focus, and the employee is the customer, could be the answer.

What’s more, by thinking holistically about total rewards as a marketing exercise, companies can greatly support managers in both hiring and retention by creating a more compelling case for the company (especially as a significant portion of a company’s workforce plans to make a job move post-pandemic).

As marketing technology has become more sophisticated, the best total rewards programs have leveraged those same features to inform, layer and measure their programs and the adoption of them. Technology in the total rewards space has pushed the discipline light years ahead of its humble beginnings of static printed letters. Now, it’s a fully customizable platform that can be updated to reflect the latest company rollouts, all the great intangibles, and most up-to-date rewards values. And where managers might’ve had just a few days carved out every year to meet with their employees and deliver total compensation statements, technology now enables them to make their employees’ total rewards information available anytime.

In my work with TotalRewards Software, I’ve been lucky to witness the evolution firsthand. Recruiting and retaining talent, especially in hard-to-fill roles, has never been more challenging. But as this Moore’s-Law-esque HR landscape continues to evolve, embracing an interactive marketing approach to total rewards is an exciting next step and one that I believe can make all the difference for companies and their employees.

Ray O’Donnell is the founder and CEO of TotalRewards Software. To learn more about effectively marketing total rewards to employees, executives and candidates, get a free trial of TotalRewards Software today.

The Benefits of Personalizing Total Rewards Statements

No one wants to feel like a number. In fact, people are evaluating their careers and overall job satisfaction by a new set of metrics. This is especially true of up-and-coming generations. Employers are facing a paradox: how can they create a unique and personalized employee experience while also making it scalable and affordable to manage? To solve this unique challenge, many employers are turning to the power of a personalized total rewards statement.

As the demographic of today’s workforce continues to change, new motivators affect how a company attracts employees. In addition, the appeal of the nomadic gig economy poses a serious threat for companies trying to retain top performers who value the freedom of a freelance lifestyle. Despite these fundamental changes in the job market, a study conducted by MetLife finds that customized total rewards statements are a useful tool in both attracting and retaining employees in today’s job-seeker market.

Personalization Matters to the Team

In the past, total rewards statements were a once-a-year occurrence. With the rise in “on-demand” everything from banking to shopping, people have become accustomed to being able to login and manage their lives via a customizable, online system. Employees value the ability to check their total rewards statements anytime, anywhere. Providing access to personalized statements whenever needed serves a dual purpose: it provides an opportunity to deliver a personalized experience that employees have come to expect and it allows employees to validate their value within an organization on-demand.

Competing for Talent in an Employee Market

There’s little doubt that today’s job market is driven by the job-seeker. As candidates grow more sophisticated with the way they receive information, attracting today’s tech-savvy candidates requires understanding their motivators and appealing to them. Similar to static total rewards statements, job offer letters have become forgettable. Today’s candidates want to feel great about a possible job offer. They want to feel like they’re working for a forward-thinking company that truly cares about employees as people, instead of cogs in a machine. Offering customized, digital job offers complete with a flushed-out compensation statement can be an essential component to establishing an attractive company culture, increasing the chances of landing top talent.

Whether your challenge is employee retention or it’s attracting talented job candidates for hard-to-fill positions, it’s possible that the level of personalization in a total rewards statement can make a huge impact on how your company is portrayed in the minds of today’s on-demand, tech-savvy workforce.

See You at the 2017 Total Rewards Conference

If you want to learn more about the current tech-savvy workforce and how to attract them to your organization meet up with us at “On Their Terms: Engaging Millennials (and Your Entire Workforce)” at the #WorldatWork 2017 Total Rewards Conference in #WashingtonDC. See you there!

On Their Terms: Engaging Millennials (and Your Entire Workforce) – Tuesday, May 9, 9:45 AM

Session Leaders:

  • Amy Stern, Director of Employee Engagement Research, BI Worldwide
  • Christy Thompson, Vice President of Humans, Sunglass Hut