Before you jump into a technical compensation answer…

Before you jump into a technical compensation answer…

Here is a recent question on LinkedIn : “How does someone determine the dollar value of a benefits package ?”. There was no additional explanation or clarification.

Many of the answers provided were relatively detailed, covering different types of benefits, talking about “net present value”, referring to actuaries and the concept of value vs that of cost.

Typical C&B answers ! Technical, complex, a bit dry for most of them.

The best answer in my opinion ? A very short one, provided by someone outside of HR : “The annual value to the recipient is simply what it would cost to purchase the benefits at retail.”

That’s it. One sentence.

And why is it the best answer for me ? Because the person who wrote it took the time to look at the profile of the person who asked the question.

In that case, the asker is a professional resume writer. Someone who helps others be on the job market and look for a new role. Most certainly, this person keeps hearing the question he just asked. Because the new unemployed want to understand how much it will cost them to get an equivalent coverage. Because they want to evaluate how much to ask for as a package when interviewing for a new job.

So the answer is provided from the angle of the customer of the person asking the question, which is most probably what is most relevant to the asker.

I have written in the past about the importance of how to communicate in Compensation & Benefits. Simple, direct, adapted and relevant communication is key for the credibility of our function. Never forget to think about who is asking, and why. When you don’t, the image of Compensation specialists as pure “techies” continues…. and it does not help us get buy-in with top management when we want to go ahead with projects.

Communication is key !


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  1. Well said! I completely agree that communication is really the key. Living in UAE, where most of the people do not have English as mother tongue (me included), i learned the hard way that adapting the communication style ,or content, to the receiver is going to have a huge impact on your success.
    In particular, in the working environment, making the effort of adjusting answers to your audience knowledge and competencies can save you a lot of time. Not easy to achieve though…

    • I fully agree Roberta, and believe it to be especially true for anyone holding some form of expertise role. It is sometimes very easy to hide behind our jargon, and then complain that others don’t “get it” !

      • John Douglass says

        Your article is priceless, Sandrine……right on the money!! We all need to keep this in mind as we begin to address efforts at greater transparency for the workforce……. especially true for those of us (me in particular!!) who are justifiably so proud of the meaningful spreadsheet analysis and design work we’ve done!


  1. […] Before you jump into a technical compensation answer… Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2012 Sandrine BardotSome Rights ReservedOriginal content here is published under these license terms: X License Type:Non-commercial, AttributionLicense Summary:You may copy this content, create derivative work from it, and re-publish it for non-commercial purposes, provided you include an overt attribution to the author(s).License URL: Filed Under: Compensation Communication Tagged With: Communication, compensation, Compensation Communication, Compensation Strategy […]

  2. […] it is an infographic, it is a nice way to remind us that how we present information helps carry the message. I have already argued in this blog that this is  a point that Compensation professionals should […]

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