Compensation and benefits is the area of human resources responsible for ensuring that the company has relevant, sustainable and competitive pay and benefits packages that attract, retain and motivate talent. Within this realm, strategies aimed at rewarding people fairly, equitably and consistently in accordance with their value to the organisation are formulated and implemented. At Old Mutual we believe that reward is only one component of the integrated employee value proposition. Research indicates that the major drivers of attraction, retention and engagement are in the intangible aspects of total rewards: career progression, development, effective leadership and the ability to make a difference through meaningful work. We invest a great deal in these aspects to ensure that the overall offering to employees is compelling.
Total reward is about strategies of how you reward and retain employees through pay, tangible and intangible benefits. This is the guiding philosophy for us. At Old Mutual we focus on total reward delivered through a multi-dimensional employee value proposition, which includes culture, leadership development, talent management, community work and an opportunity to develop a career. For us, benefits are more than monetary reward. We know that money is important to employees, but also understand that people work for more than money.
Our promise to employees is personal and professional growth aligned to our core values and purpose as a business. What attracts, retains and motivates people often lies in non-monetary aspects of an employer’s offering to its people: the opportunity to learn and grow, to progress in a career, to work with great people, to make a difference in the world. We see reward in its totality. This ranges from flexible working hours, medical aid, life assurance, retirement funding, maternity benefits as well as counselling and a health programme. Old Mutual provides supporting infrastructure such as a crèche, gym, canteen, shopping mall, sports facilities, access to proactive financial wellbeing and advice for staff to promote work-life integration. All these initiatives create a great place to work.
Old Mutual’s response together with our board remuneration committee has been to ensure that we invest strongly in growing our internal talent to meet our evolving business needs.
External sourcing of key talent is used on a targeted basis to strengthen and refresh our talent pools. Offers are positioned holistically, considering all aspects of the value proposition that the position presents.
These aspects of an organisation are crucial and are huge contributing factors towards its success. If a company wants to attract and retain the best people in the industry, it is critical that they offer fair and market-related pay at all levels, as well as competitive benefits and effective risk and retirement funds. Incentives and recognition schemes in particular play a key role in driving and rewarding performance excellence, because they help to focus employees on delivering great work aligned to the strategy of the business, in a manner that demonstrates its values.
While pay is undeniably a major part of a company’s costs, it is important that it is managed prudently and sustainably, in the interests of customers and clients. Setting pay outside the context of sustainable business will eventually catch up with the business, so maintaining a keen eye on affordability and pay increases is a skilful juggling act.
There are two key principles that can help guide businesses in this regard:
- Businesses must ensure consistent and disciplined approaches to pay that promote fair pay strategies.
- There must be appropriate pay structures that support the strategic and operational delivery of a business.
At Old Mutual, we employ structural mechanisms such as market and internal equity benchmarking and integrated reward management processes, and through line leadership taking accountability for pay costs as part of their business management responsibilities. Our reward offering to employees is under constant review. It is also consistently evolving, especially in the rest of Africa where market data is sometimes hard to obtain. Rigorous benchmarking is employed and we ensure that our total reward packages are fair and market-related. We conduct ongoing market research on benefits, which ensures that we review and update practices to remain competitive and relevant in the 13 countries in which we operate across Africa.
We also offer risk and retirement benefits to our employees, which help them to cover key risks like medical emergencies, death and disability and provide for retirement as part of their broader financial goals. Investment boutiques and asset management offerings are regularly benchmarked and managed to ensure that our employees receive optimal outcomes. We recognise that employees have varying personal circumstances and needs, thus we offer choice and flexibility, allowing them to structure their total package in line with their personal and family needs. This includes aspects such as buying and selling of leave, differing levels of retirement funding and many different medical aid options.
Our secret sauce at Old Mutual is employee empowerment through an integrated financial education programme, a single view of the reward statement that helps in planning and finally, programs that encourage savings and behaviour change. We drive this through targeted communication to assist employees make informed choices, and to optimise their packages. We utilise the benefits usage information to inform targeted campaigns.
Our reward structures are performance-driven, rewarding performance excellence. This ensures that high performers share in the value they help to create. Through a variety of recognition schemes and opportunities, we reward employees for their contribution to the building of a client-focused, values-driven business. We believe in sustainable total reward of employees and essentially we balance the interests of our shareholders, policyholders and employee interests. We need to always look at the long-term sustainability of the business to project employment in this very trying time of low economic growth.
Over and above all of this, employee engagement is a critical part of our strategy to understand their needs and wants, focusing on key employee segments where appropriate. This constitutes an important differentiator for us as a business. We frequently hold debriefing sessions with our employees, leaders and unions on our position as the No.1 Top Employer in Financial Services and No.1 Best Company To Work For in the large company category (Deloitte). These sessions are important in order to get feedback on all aspects that we can improve on. Thereafter the teams work in a focussed and diligent way to improve on this. We are transparent around company performance with our union partners and involve them in our business planning and HR practice improvement exercises.
The competition for key talent remains a challenge in businesses around the world and to an even greater extent, in our continent. We constantly see the effect of the experience gap. A company undeniably stands out when it offers rewards that are consistent with its culture and values, and when those rewards support its business strategy — attracting, retaining and motivating the right talent for that business.
Anisha Archary is the Human Resources Director of Old Mutual Emerging Markets (South Africa, Rest of Africa, Latin America, India and China)