Reward: Time to transform the deal you offer your workforce

There’s no escaping the facts: work is changing, and change is occurring so quickly, it’s easy to accept that in thirty years, today’s most in-demand skills will be relegated to history. Technology is often blamed for the unprecedented transformation we are seeing in the way we work but the technologies driving this revolution are only part of the picture – the heart of the revolution is human. And whether it’s the rise of populism, demographic change, calls for greater transparency or the ongoing evolution of the employer-employee relationship, companies are dealing with complex and often conflicting tensions.


We know businesses are feeling the pressure of these changes today, particularly in the employer-employee relationship. But many leaders struggle with knowing where or how to start responding to the change. In a new study, we dived in to understanding what organisations are doing to modernise reward. What we learned will help your organisation transform your approach to reward, creating a new deal that will attract and engage the people needed to sustain your business into the unknown future.

The five ways organisations are re-thinking reward

We started with the hypothesis that the ‘deal’ that sustained the traditional world of work is broken. Then we spoke to seventy organisations, asking them if they agree with this central position and learning about how they’re taking a more agile approach to shaping and promoting the employee experience. We wanted the nitty gritty details of how they’re crafting a compelling offering that gives them a sustainable competitive edge in the talent market.

These organisations confirmed our thinking: ‘total reward’ is no longer enough, businesses need to think more creatively about engaging the whole person to offer a more meaningful employee experience. Five themes emerged. These five areas are where organisations are focusing their energy, with each organisation also influenced by external factors like industries, geographies and business strategies:

Redefining the nature of work: Organisations are considering the mismatch between modern, flexible ways of working and traditional ways of organising and rewarding work and designing new, future-fit approaches.

Tackling new talent shortages: New ways of working are demanding new skills brought by new talent. Taking into account changing demographics and a growing contingent workforce, many organisations are seeking to disrupt the traditional employer-employee relationship.

Rethinking reward: Many organisations accept that shoehorning modern work practices into traditional reward processes is nonsensical, yet they still find it difficult to break away. Those leading the way are fundamentally rethinking the reward mix to align better to modern business cycles and agile ways of working.

Involving employees: Striking a new deal means considering the many and varied reasons that influence individuals in choosing to work for a company. Organisations are listening, learning and adapting to the needs and desires of their heterogeneous workforces.

Enhancing the employee experience: This umbrella theme touches on each of the previous four and considers how they translate into a meaningful and engaging experience for employees. A new deal will only succeed if it enhances each individual’s experience, offering a sense of purpose and greater control.

Three steps to developing your new deal

Of course none of this is simple and no one approach will suit all organisations. While our interviewees almost universally agreed that change is needed to stay competitive, they were all forging their own version of a new deal.

We’ve developed three steps to help organisations make a start:

    • Listen to your workforce - current and future: Ask for feedback and be open to what you hear. Feedback is the essential foundation for understanding the employee experience. And it’s a continuous cycle of listening, acting and adapting.
    • Use our new deal framework to assess your approach: While feedback can help identify your key issues, our framework can help translate those issues into an actionable process, by assessing where you are and where you want to be.
    • Reshape your offering: Take action and adjust your offering to reflect the needs of your workforce.

Learn more about the new deal. Download: The New Deal for the Future of Work