What does Total Reward really mean?

It’s time to remember the good things about working in the NHS, argues Richard Edge.
If you are reading this, the likelihood is that you are a HR professional.
Therefore when you hear the phrase ‘Total Reward’, you will automatically know what it means. If this was a blog written for a more diverse audience, perhaps incorporating more of our Operations and Finance colleagues, you may receive a few more blank looks.
But do we really know what we think we mean by Total Reward in the NHS? NHS Employers defines it as: ‘An approach to thinking about the attractions of working for an NHS organization in a holistic manner.’
The CIPD defines it as a concept which: ‘Encompasses all aspects of work that are valued by employees, including elements such as L&D opportunities and/or an attractive working environment.’
So, let’s forget about the financial element. That is the easy bit. What do we do well in our organizations to reward and retain our staff without money? Nothing? You might be surprised…
The NHS has a fantastic setup that can easily be taken for granted. It supports staff with generous leave allowances, comparatively good job security, supportive management and career development structures, employee assistance programs, and a general caring and compassionate culture. The staff also have exceptionally strong support from the public for the work that they are carrying out.
These are things that generally are consistent across the NHS, but do all the staff know and appreciate them? Can we learn something from other health systems? Can we look at other health systems to help us recognize what we do well that is unique and then promote that to the workforce?
In the US for example, Cleveland Clinic actively engages all employees consistently outlining the benefits of its Total Reward Package, encompassing four areas, ‘Compensation, Financial, Wellness and Career Development’.  Excellent! In Qatar, leave allowances and benefit packages exceed those provided by the NHS.
However, in both of the above instances in the US and in the Middle East, certain factors that the NHS has are not as present. Factors that could be lacking include career progression, positive feedback, public support, or even, in some cases the caring culture that the NHS has so deeply embedded within it.
So, are you interested in thinking more about how you might reward and retain your staff? Do you want to brainstorm about successes and failures and how they are communicated? How can we use our international colleagues to improve even further? Then keep your eyes peeled!
In the coming weeks I will be leading a webinar for HPMA members to discuss this very topic.  I would love for you to join, get involved in the discussion and let’s start to help really understand Total Reward in an international context and how we can use it to retain our staff! Please read Network for details of how to join or go to the events section of the website.
Richard Edge, HR & Workforce Consultant at Ara Darzi Qatar Ltd / Primary Health Care Corporation

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