For a communications program to be successful, especially in total compensation communications, it must be ongoing, cost-effective to produce, and flexible in content and design.
Blanchard Valley Health Association (BVHA) is an integrated regional health system based in Findlay, Ohio. It serves an eight-county area and is one of the region’s largest employers. BVHA’s roots go back to 1891 when the anchor hospital, Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, was founded. BVHA, like most employers, is concerned about effectively and cost efficiently communicating the value of its total compensation package to employees.
In addition to total compensation communications, BVHA is also concerned about focusing on different compensation and benefit related issues from year-to-year, so that the message is always relevant and timely.
Findley worked closely with BVHA’s Human Resources to define the parameters of a total compensation report (TCR) and explore what the potential variations could be from year to year, including format, style, colors, content, and layout. A significant effort was made to address data gathering so that it would be done as cost effectively as possible.
A projected cost was assigned to each format so that BVHA would have a high degree of confidence that at least a basic TCR could be produced in a year with tight budget restrictions. Findley’s Communication Solutions Practice, summarized the longstanding communications consulting relationship with BVHA,
“For a communications program to be successful, especially in total compensation communications, it must be ongoing, cost-effective to produce, and flexible in content and design.”
BVHA’s primary objectives were to create a dynamic communication vehicle that describes employees’ total compensation; allows the communication vehicle to focus annually on the most critical, topical benefit or compensation issue; and have a cost-effective vehicle to accommodate budget variations that can occur from year-to-
year. The BVHA total compensation reports have run the gamut from an award winning, multicolor, multiple page booklet to a trifold to a single page. The TCRs are prepared with different messages in mind. In some years, the focus is on retirement plan issues—the traditional pension plan and/or the 403(b) plan. In other years, the focus is on health and welfare plan issues. The success of the TCRs can be measured in a number of ways. For example, 403(b) plan participation rises when the focus is on retirement. When health and welfare plan issues are highlighted, health care costs have stabilize and rates of increase have steadied. Finally, and perhaps most telling, employees ask for their “Apple Reports,” so they can compare their total compensation from year-to-year. A robust, red, healthy looking apple has been the consistent graphic element in the reports from year-to-year and employees themselves named the TCRs “Apple Report.” These are clear signs that the TCRs are doing their job in educating employees on the value of their total compensation.