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Getting Creative With Total Rewards – 2019 HR Lab Recap

We hear the buzz words all the time – Employee Engagement, Retention, War for Talent, etc. But what do any of those words mean if we as HR professionals don’t practice what we preach? How do we take the idea of being perceived as a destination employer to actually BECOMING a destination employer?

Throughout the year, the Versique HR team hosts a series of HR labs for clients and greater HR networks to create a space for gaining insights on HR trends and sharing takeaways for application. The most recent topic addressed creativity around Total Rewards and how to leverage benefits and compensation strategy into talent acquisition, engagement, and employee retention. Not only did we learn what other employers are doing in the Twin Cities market, but the conversation also incorporated the idea of marketing soft benefits as a form of talent branding.

Today, Job seekers have the opportunity to choose where they’d like to work. Why should they choose your company over the next? What story is your organization telling? We’re beyond the days of merely covering compensation and medical/dental coverage in the hiring process. What added benefits does your organization provide in other areas to differentiate itself?

If you don’t yet know or are seeking some creative ideas, here are just a few examples provided by our HR Lab panelists and attendees:

  • Caregiver or eldercare leaves
  • Paid parental leave
  • Extended paid leave for birthing parents
  • Flexible scheduling, work from home/remote capabilities
  • Unlimited PTO/vacation
  • Revamping the workplace environment (natural daylight, open concept, collaboration stations)
  • Beer on tap in the office
  • Sit/stand work stations
  • Discounted gym memberships
  • Onsite gyms with free personal training sessions
  • Charitable giving matches
  • Paid volunteer time off
  • Financial wellness (resources for budgeting and retirement)
  • Student loan assistance programs
  • Pet insurance and “take your pet to work day”


Not every organization will be able to offer every benefit, but the genuinely successful companies in this market gain buy–in and attract the right talent by telling their stories. If you find yourself in the earlier stages of talent branding and driving engagement through benefit offerings, here are a few key takeaways to get started:

  1. Understand your employees through active listening. Who works for your company? How would their lives be impacted positively by what you offer? Are they motivated by the company mission, the products you offer, or the services you provide?
  2. Identify what you stand for as an organization and build the outline from there.
  3. Brand your strategy, educate your prospective employees and your current employees.

We hope to see you at our next HR Lab, but in the meantime, you can learn more about our HR Consulting services and see recaps of past HR Labs on our website.



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