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reward communications

We know how important it is to build a successful employer brand. There are lots of different elements that need to come together to formulate a strong EVP (Employee Value Proposition) and one of these is reward communications.

In this episode of The Big Bright Podcast, we chat with Becky Hewson-Haworth on this particular aspect of building a strong employer brand. We chat about the importance of reward communications and how you can incorporate traditional marketing storytelling into your comms, forming a larger part of your employer branding strategy. Becky specialises in helping businesses produce better ROI through effective communications. She combines copywriting, marketing and reward know-how to craft clear messages that engage employees and help deliver greater value on reward investment.

Listen in to discover:

Or enjoy this short summary below!


What are reward communications?

Put simply, reward communications are a way for companies to tell their employees about the sorts of reward packages they offer. It’s kind of like marketing, but instead of connecting with consumers, you’re talking to your own employees as part of your employer value proposition.

As Becky puts it:

“When a business has products and services, you’ll market those to your customers. Reward packages are the products and services that you provide internally for your employees. When we say market, we’re talking about driving awareness and driving engagement, both of which are the same things that you do in marketing, but internally to employees.”

Most of the content that Becky creates and manages is mostly focused on compensation. This includes:

  • Gender pay gap reports
  • Guides for managers about annual salary reviews
  • Explanation around bonus schemes
  • HR policy rewriting into plain English
  • Communication around pensions

Why are reward communications so important?

Quite simple: “Reward is one of the biggest items in nearly every business's entire budget. There's a huge amount spent on compensation plans. These include bonuses, base pay and employee benefits, which of course are really important for ensuring employee wellbeing and engagement, all of which drive performance and profit for the business.

So if you're failing to invest in communicating about these plans to your employees, you're failing to invest in ROI for your whole reward budget. In other words: failing to invest in employee reward communications, means failing to invest in the business.”

Becky also points out that it’s not just individual comms such as salary and pension that are important. You need to have a clear understanding of the bigger picture and the overall rewards package. This all comes down to the strategy and the story you want to tell.

We know how important it is to build a successful employer brand. There are lots of different elements that need to come together to formulate a strong EVP (Employee Value Proposition) and one of these is reward communications.

How does reward communications fit into your employer brand strategy?

Like any marketing strategy, the employee brand strategy needs to align with your business goals and purpose. Reward forms a huge part of this.

One of Becky’s clients had a huge employee wellbeing package. There was loads of great stuff that their employees could take advantage of - they just weren’t communicating it properly. So, to get them on track, Becky looked at creating an employee (or rewards) brand.

“We started by looking at what branding they already had. You don't want to be one thing on the outside and something else internally. That also taps into the culture. People say that company culture should be like a stick of rock: if you cut the business in any place, it should run all the way through. If you've got a culture of being honest and open, and that's something that appears on the outside of your business to customers, then obviously that culture should also apply to employees through your values. ”

They decided to use the same colours and fonts as their external branding, but create a different logo that employees could identify with. They also had a look at their tone of voice. They were already using a ‘warm and professional’ voice and they were quick to realise that this is exactly how they wanted to talk to their employees.

Becky says that, quite often, the clues are already there. So, if you’re looking to build an employer brand, take a look at your existing branding. Does this resonate with your workplace culture? From here, you should be able to start working on something that connects with your employees too.

How can you use your reward comms to create stories?

Once you’ve built your employer brand, it’s time to tell some stories. Marketers know how important storytelling is in connecting with their audience. The same applies to your teams and is the best way to link back to your overall business purpose, mission and vision.

“When we think about marketing externally, we will have a framework. We know what story we want to tell about the business, so, you should have the same internally. Ask yourself: where does that framework come from? What is the story that you want to tell?”

Becky is currently working with a financial services organisation. Their purpose is about connecting people with better financial futures. So there’s a really obvious link between purpose and reward that can be fed back into their employee branding.


The best way to dig for a good story? Use engagement surveys and talk to your employees. Find out how they are using your benefits. Are they making big savings on their favorite brands? Have they saved up for a holiday using one of your reward plans?

Listen to Becky’s case study with Royal London in the full episode via Spotify or Apple

How can you measure success and ROI in reward communications?

Measuring the success of your strategy can be a challenge, but it’s important in determining ROI and whether your efforts are worth it.

“It's good to measure your reward packages in terms of ‘use’. Are people actually taking up the voluntary benefits that you offer them? Cycle-to-work, for example.

Private medical insurance is also a classic example. It's a benefit that you have in place, you want employees to use it because it means they get back to work quicker. Less sickness absence equals a more engaged and more looked after workforce. But at the same time, some businesses don't want their private medical insurance to be used too much because it can really tip the claims experience and ends up being very costly. So sometimes there's a balancing act, but it depends on the business as to what they think is a good result and what is not a good result.”

How to ditch the jargon and make your reward comms accessible for all


When writing up HR policies and reward communications, you need to remember who you’re talking to. All too often, Becky reads through documents that even she finds difficult to understand - despite her years of experience in HR.

Employment and HR documents can often be stuffed full of difficult words, or phrases that feel a little outdated, for example, ‘therefore’ or ‘here to with’. Using awkward copy will only lead to more questions from your teams.
Although Becky doesn’t suggest HR teams should be experts in copywriting, it is certainly something to think about if you want to better connect with your employees.

Becky suggests that it’s important to “ translate your copy into plain English. Use active voice, keep sentences short, use basic words when you can.

There's actually software out there that helps with this. I learned from copywriting when I first started out that you can use free software. You don't even have to pay for it. You can just chuck your policy into a free piece of software and it will tell you how good the readability is. Over time, what you'll find is that you'll get better and better and your scores will get better and better if you keep tweaking away.”

If you’re interested in learning more about employer branding, take a look at our blog post The Bright toolkit for building a better brand for your employees.

If you need some expert advice from Becky herself, you can find her on LinkedIn or via her website.


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