If you interview Red Cross employees, you'd probably hear a lot of different answers to that question, but it would be easy to put your finger on at least one common theme. Most nonprofit employees feel a strong draw to the Mission of their employer, and they put making a difference in the community at the top of their wish list (instead of stock options).
I guess that's why so many nonprofits that I work with do not talk with their employees about Total Rewards. If most organizations' overriding talent goals are to attract, motivate, retain and engage, the nonprofits with which I work have a more straightforward job of attracting and engaging employees than their corporate sponsors. Most of their job applicants are almost pre-approved for high engagement scores -- whether or not they are hired. Yet many of my nonprofit compensation clients have invited me to Total Reward discussions because they feel that they could be doing better in a number of employment areas.
Many nonprofits have noteworthy Total Rewards, yet they introduce employees to their new positions by explaining the salary and providing benefits forms galore. Period. Unlike corporate, nonprofits rarely have a marketing dimension to recruiting and hiring. You know, the messaging that highlights and promotes the organization's collaborative work environment, rich benefit offering, training opportunities and/or healthy work/life balance. Why take the time to point these things out when new employees are already eager to change the world?
One reason to talk in terms of Total Rewards is to be well prepared for the inevitable tough questions. So many nonprofit employees compare their salaries with their friends in corporate and come away disappointed. Of course, they typically don't have to work 65-hour weeks, shoulder production goals or watch their medical deductibles increase every year -- and because they don't think in terms of Total Rewards, these comparisons never occur to them.
If nonprofit employees come in to talk with HR about their misgivings, HR is stuck doing a form of backpedaling that can seem like double talk. After all, doesn't it seem a bit desperate to suddenly bring up retirement benefits and vacation time when they've never been a topic of conversation?
If nonprofit employees don't come in to talk with HR about their misgivings, their resentment can become overblown since "fairness" is an extremely important value to them, given their career choice.
Employees make real trade offs when they choose a nonprofit career over a corporate one, but are often acting on their feelings rather than looking at the "fine print." It's to a nonprofit organization's benefit to make their entire "value proposition" more specific from recruiting onward.
Many nonprofit organizations have Total Rewards offerings that are more valuable than typical employers -- think Defined Benefit programs, medical coverage that hasn't been redesigned in many years and regular 40 hour weeks, to name a few possibilities -- but they are overlooked or taken for granted unless a spotlight is intentionally pointed their way.
Are you acting like everything you do in compensation is communication? If you wonder why it matters, earn a career boosting ROI by investing in the popular ebook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication @ https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication. Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP collaborated with Ann Bares and Dan Walter to create this DIY guide to compensation leadership. Margaret is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. She brings deep expertise in compensation, communications and leadership to topics like the CEO Pay Ratio and performance management discussions at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, Margaret was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson.