The October 8th i4cp Total Rewards Action Call featured a conversation between call facilitator Mark Englizian and Allan Brown, VP of Total Rewards, at video game company Electronic Arts (EA). The discussion centered on the structure of the Total Rewards (TR) function.
Key takeaways from the call:
- Total Rewards functions have taken on a systems perspective. The TR function has changed over time, moving from a focus on the component parts (such as compensation, benefits, etc.) to a systems-thinking sort of approach.
The result of those changes, says Brown, is that Total Rewards now integrates the component parts and, even before the term employee experience, it started TR leaders “thinking about how companies were investing in people to get the best level of engagement from them.” Further, he says, it enables greater insight into the interplay among the components of HR and TR and the effects that occur when one or more of those is changed.
- Looking at Total Rewards as a system of interconnected parts may drive more constructive conversations with organizational leaders. The systems view keeps the larger picture in mind, says Brown. It also enables coordination of changes in the individual components. “As you’re changing things in one area, you’re making similar changes throughout the system as needed, so that whatever integrated whole you’re aiming for is going to have the right outcomes.”
Further, he points out, upper-level executives “have the larger context in mind. Having that view in mind as a TR leader who is speaking to those executives helps me better connect with the reality of those executives.”
- Integration of Total Rewards may take longer than expected. When asked if he began work at EA with specific ideas about his desired outcomes for the structure of the company’s Total Rewards function, Brown acknowledged that he had some ideas in mind, but quickly found it necessary to be flexible. Turnover among leaders of the compensation and benefits components, among others, meant that the focus had to be on standing up individual teams. In turn, that meant that the idea of an integrated, systems approach had to evolve over time.
- Some companies are making the workplace environment part of Total Rewards. During the call, Brown shared a slide that presented a visual of the structure of EA’s Total Rewards function. He noted that one aspect not often found yet in TR teams is termed “Workplace Experience.”
Positioning this as an “emerging piece of Total Rewards,” Brown described the basic idea behind it: “The work environment can also be a reward, and this goes beyond the basic structure. You may walk in and see things that energize you or inspire you as an employee.” Creating that kind of inspiration that would elevate employee experience is, he says, the logic behind moving the workplace environment into total rewards.
Also on today’s call
- An instant poll during the call asked attendees which of seven teams and functions were part of their Total Rewards organizations. Top responses:
96% Employee benefits
93% Executive compensation
82% Population health (well-being)
Significantly lower proportions of respondents reported that their TR functions included performance management, talent mobility, and HRIT teams.
The recording of the session and its full range of discussion topics is available at i4cp’s Employer Resource Center.