Phase one: preparation and planning

Completing a form
Use our checklist to help you identify the key actions while you are working through phase one. 

Before developing a reward strategy, it's essential to have collected and reviewed relevant information and data to ensure you can fully understand what your local issues might be.

The findings from your review will provide the context and also help identify the drivers and implications for future reward strategies.

A lot of work can be involved in the preparation and planning phase so it's important to allow enough time to do this. In order to work out the direction you want to take your reward strategy, it's essential to know where you are now, and so fully understanding your existing rewards situation is very important. 

Well-structured internal and external analysis may highlight that arrangements are not as bad as you thought, or they may show some critical weaknesses you need to address urgently. While there is often a temptation to rush into re-designing new arrangements and making changes, clarifying the future reward objectives and success measures is fundamental to the effective delivery of any changes.

At the end of this phase you may conclude that you do not need to make any specific design changes or to operate rewards more flexibly in future. This activity will still have been useful as it will have allowed you to reflect on current practices and it may have helped to inform improvements and refresh the management and communication of current rewards policies and practices. This is where some employers report problems and these areas are considered in detail in phase three of this toolkit under the section titled Implementation and communications.

Successful preparation will include incorporating the advice in the following resources.

How should I gather and review the information?

You may want to consider setting up a project team which could assist in areas such as collecting and reviewing information, carrying out surveys and interviews. The team should be representative of the workforce including staff of varying levels, line managers and trade union representatives. By having the project team involved from the outset, it will increase their engagement and understanding of the project going forward. 

Read our case study from East London NHS Foundation Trust on how it reviewed its reward offer to aid recruitment and retention challenges and to ensure the reward offer reflected what staff want and value.

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