They’re a proven way to show employees the firm invests more in them than they may think. But be careful.
The statements can easily backfire – or contain inaccuracies. Here’s how to find and fix two common trouble spots:
1. Avoiding incorrect info
Accidental math errors are the most common – and damaging – problem with total comp statements.
They’re also the toughest for you to spot and correct before the firm sends out the statements, since you aren’t the one who crunches the numbers.
But there are two ways to minimize the risk:
- Make a list of the data sources you use, such as Payroll, your 401(k) provider and health plan carrier, and
- Ask each source to pull and review a few random samples. If they’re OK, chances are the rest will also be fine. But if they contain errors, you can be pretty sure others will have mistakes.
A related problem: Some statements are arranged as a single list of costs, one line after another. To cut the risk of putting something on the wrong line, break the statement down into small sections (e.g., salary, healthcare and retirement). Bonus: This helps make statements easier for employees to follow.
2. ‘Just increase my salary’ syndrome
Sometimes, total compensation statements can actually decrease salary satisfaction, rather than boost morale. A handful of employees may gripe, “Why can’t you just increase my salary instead?” That’s especially true for legally required benefits (like workers’ compensation) and low-profile benefits such as term life insurance. Two fixes that work:
- List “government-required benefits” as a section of the statement. Avoid the term “mandated,” since many employees are unfamiliar with it, and
- Consider adding a section that shows employees how much it’d cost them to line up their own coverage instead.