Testing your approach

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In this section we consider different methods of testing your reward approach.

Depending on the level of change required, the next step should be to test your proposed reward offering with key stakeholders including staff, senior management and trade union representatives.

Testing is vital to ensuring staff engage and buy into the new reward approach. Any issues or concerns can then be considered prior to launch and can be addressed as part of the communications plan.

The level of testing will be dependent on the level of change required but could be one element of reward such as a new salary sacrifice scheme or it could be more extensive testing of new branding, technology (for example a flexible benefits hub), or internal processes as well as testing the links to organisational values and strategic goals.

Approaches to testing

There are a number of approaches and dependent on the level of change, capacity and timescales one or more of the following approaches could be appropriate:

Focus groups are a useful mechanism for gathering qualitative information and an opportunity to gain feedback from a range of people with differing views including staff, unions, senior management and HR. For some top tips on running focus groups take a look at our one page prompt. The composition of the focus group/s should be representative of the workforce.

An example of  an interesting approach that a private sector organisation, Barclays, have taken to understanding their workforce can be found in their ‘Beyond Benefits’ publication. Their approach includes categorising staff into five generations, each with their own needs, attitudes and priorities.

A staff survey can be carried out either across the whole workforce or with a sample cross section. Careful consideration has to be given to the questions and how they might be scored. Survey results can be further analysed through focus groups particularly where clarification of the reasons behind the responses is desirable. The NHS Staff Survey includes information on aspects of how staff feel about their total rewards, such as the recognition and development they receive. This could be used as a benchmark against which to measure the impact of any changes.

Running a short pilot with one section of the workforce will provide direct feedback from those staff and is also a great way of addressing teething problems such as process or system issues prior to fully launching to the whole organisation.

An online discussion forum is quick and low resource means of gathering views. It enables staff to provide a more detailed response than a staff survey and allows the project team or HR lead to respond quickly and transparently to queries. 

Having designed, tested and finalised your reward strategy the next step is developing an implementation plan.

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