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Simplifying with Rice Crispy Cookies

Photo Credit:  Steve Depolo, Flickr

Photo Credit: Steve Depolo, Flickr

When I was a little girl, my mom and I often made rice crispy cookies together. It is the kind of recipe where kids can get involved. With just 3 ingredients, and with modern conveniences like a microwave, it can be a safe recipe for kids to learn about food preparation.

Up until this weekend, it probably has been more than 30 years since the last time I made these cookies. I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to make them, except that recently I’ve eaten a lot of marshmallows (because I’m hanging around outdoor fires and have taken a liking to s’mores).

While marveling at my re-found creation and realizing that the whole process took less than 10 minutes, I starting thinking about its applicability to work.

Have you ever thought about why we implement complicated things when simple things can be more satisfying? I’m not saying that there isn’t a time or place for complicated things but I sometimes wonder if we in HR get caught up in the detail, sacrificing the real message.

An example? Well how about total rewards. It used to be that total rewards encompassed base salary, a variable incentive and basic benefits. Even as a trio, there was a lot of work to manage and communicate them. The goal was to make them work together synergistically to attract, retain and motivate employees. Now total rewards encompasses far more. Think of all the non-cash elements in your strategy: beer Thursdays, cross-fit classes, and nutritionists. Incentives that used to be just for executives are now available to everyone. If we’re going to call these payroll items, our metrics have to be more robust now to demonstrate ROI for all these components.

Ok, so I’m not necessarily wanting to dump the idea of a broader set of total rewards, but rather improving and simplifying messaging about them, and tying them back to the reasons our organizations choose to include them in the reward strategy.

Or, in some cases communicating about the reasons we include them in reward strategy in the first place.

I do get frustrated when I hear others advocate dumming down the communication about total rewards. I don’t believe that we have to treat people like they’re dummies; that is not what I am saying by suggesting simplifying. Rather, we have to do a better job at communicating what is being offered and why, in order to project better value propositions. Rewards shouldn’t be viewed simply as that to be consumed.

There is art to that simplicity.

Now if you’re excuse me I’ll get back to eating my rice crispy cookies.

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