HR Toolkit


Compensation & Benefits

Indirect Benefits

Indirect benefits will look different in every organization. Ultimately it is the way in which you choose to define the culture of your organization and your total compensation rewards program that will differentiate it. Of course, it is important to ensure it aligns with organizational strategic objectives. Recent studies all indicate that in today’s changing work environment it is the flexibility and creativity that draws and keeps the highly skilled employee and much of this is impacted by the organizations choice of indirect benefits

Professional Development

For many people, especially the younger generations, the ability to develop both personally and professionally is highly valued and a key consideration in deciding where to work.

  • Access to training and development on the job and through courses or conferences were listed in a study done by the Conference Board of Canada as important
  • Another variation of this was receiving reimbursement for courses taken on the employee’s own time - most commonly reimbursed were courses that aligned with a professional designation in the employees current role

Career Opportunities

In addition to supporting employee’s pursuit of training and development opportunities, an organization should also consider how it will support its employees’career development. Supporting an employee’s pursuit of their career goals and possible advancement into more responsible positions in the organization not only benefits the employee but also the organization as the employee can move into roles that enable them to deliver their greatest value to the organization.

Having regular career discussions with employees, possibly as part of a performance management process, will help to stay up to date on their progress and any changes to the direction they are hoping to take.

Culture

Employees who were surveyed and asked what kept them in their current role, indicated that having a culture that recognized the importance of connecting performance to rewards were key to their satisfaction.

Performance management was one component that influenced the culture. Having clearly defined expectations, being able to identify goals to work towards and having their evaluation align with those agreed-to goals, contributed to higher satisfaction levels.

Receiving effective and realistic feedback, both positive and constructive, increased a continuous learning environment and increases commitment to the organization because performance, both good and bad, is recognized.

Succession planning when operating within an organization brings a sense of purpose and sustainability to employees. Confidence in the future and their role it in, was reported consistently by those who had been identified for a succession plan. Consider ways to develop younger staff with great potential by having them be identified as a potential successor to a long-term employee. The employee wins by learning new and critical skills while feeling rewarded for their hard work to date, the more senior person feels rewarded for years of service and identified as a key contributor. The organization wins by ensuring that intellectual capital is not lost, but transitioned from one employee to another.

Trust demonstrated as part of the culture of an organization is highly valued by all generations of employees. In Steven Covey’s book: “Moving at the Speed of Trust” leaders are challenged to evaluate if their organization’s culture is one of trust or mistrust. Employees who feel trusted and respected will strive harder to maintain that trust and are less likely to do something that will result in a loss of trust.

Workplace Flexibility

Alternative work arrangements are effective ways to negotiate an arrangement that meets the needs of the organization while also providing employees will what they need to balance their home and work environments. Listed below are just some of the ideas that could be explored. Finding out what your organization would value can start this process. The key is to ensure that any alternative arrangements considered do not hinder the organization’s ability to ensure that core work is being completed in the time and manner required to maintain sustainability.

Having clear expectations on both the organization and the employee’s part as to the terms and conditions of the alternative work arrangement can prevent ineffective or damaging results.

  • Flexible time
    • This can be establishing core hours, then allowing employees to work earlier in the day or later in the day
      • Example: Core hours are 9 to 2. Person A starts at 7 and works till 3, Person B works from 9 to 5.
    • Seasonal hours can be established in a variety of terms, just as flexible hours/schedule of part-time employees. Example: hiring a part-time person to work 4 days a week or a .8. but they actually work full-time for 10 months a year, and then take a combination of their time vacation and .2 hours and take a month in the summer and a month in the winter off work. They would continue to receive the .8 salary for 12 months a year.
  • Compressed work week
    • Allowing an employee to work their full number of hours in less days
      • Example: Core hours are 40 hours per week, the employee works 4 – 10 hours days instead of 5 – 8 hour days
  • Job sharing
    • Having 2 qualified employees share the duties and tasks of one position
      • Both could work 2.5 days or alternative between 3 days one week and 2 the next.
    • The advantage of job sharing is having 2 people who both know the role; the downside can be having a communication gap between individuals doing the role
      • Consider having an employee who is contemplating retirement job share with a more junior employee with high potential…transition knowledge, skills and commitment.
  • Job sharing
    • Having 2 qualified employees share the duties and tasks of one position
      • Both could work 2.5 days or alternative between 3 days one week and 2 the next.
    • The advantage of job sharing is having 2 people who both know the role; the downside can be having a communication gap between individuals doing the role
      • Consider having an employee who is contemplating retirement job share with a more junior employee with high potential…transition knowledge, skills and commitment.
  • Telecommuting
    • This is the practice of allowing an employee work from their home location instead of on your premises
      • There are guidelines governing the considerations for this type of employment
    • In the past ten years the number of people telecommuting has tripled with results indicating that increased productivity and effectiveness were seen from this type of working arrangement.
  • Regular part-time work
    • Many people today are looking for meaningful work but on a part-time basis. A desire to balance work and life priorities has increased exponentially over the past decade and employers who recognize the contribution part-time employees can make, are leading their organizations forward
  • Educational partnership
    • Many employees are looking for opportunities to balance academic pursuits with employment opportunities
    • Considering how you could structure a role for a person in the final stages of their education, could result in an increased pool of potential employees, and employees who will be loyal to an organization that provided with them practical experience and the ability to create a flexible schedule.

Regardless of whether you are developing an alternative work arrangement or increasing the flexibility of your benefit program, it is important to understand what motivates employees and what culture you are building in your organization. The better able you are to align the two together, the increased success you will have.

Next Section: Job evaluation (Internal equity)