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Developing a Total Rewards Program: Q&A with Alma Cajic of Delta-Q Technologies

Total Rewards programs are still a relatively new concept in the HR community. With the Canadian unemployment rate at its lowest in recent history, competition for top talent among businesses is increasing. Companies are looking for ways to attract the best candidates and keep them while fostering a strong organizational culture. Developing a Total Rewards program can help!

We had the opportunity to speak with Alma Cajic from Delta-Q Technologies about how her organization is utilizing Total Rewards to build and establish a unique culture. Alma’s career path has taken her through a variety of industries, where she has developed the skills that have led her into her current role as Manager, People and Culture. Alma’s passion for HR started at a young age when her family moved from Europe to North America.  Her parents’ struggle to find work as immigrants motivated her to work towards a career where she could help people and influence change.

What are Total Rewards and how does it differ from the traditional approach to compensation?

Total Rewards are a comprehensive approach to compensation that helps companies attract and retain employees through long-term strategies. It differs from the traditional approach to compensation in that Total Rewards allows businesses to focus on multiple areas of recognition and employee development – beyond a salary. It is a great tool to help businesses stand out and compete with other companies for talent.

Tell me more about the link between Total Rewards and company culture?

The link between the two is that your Total Rewards program is a tangible way to show what your company cares about. If we want to create a culture to attract and retain top performers, we need to invest in building this culture and programs that support this goal. As HR professionals we must align ourselves with the rest of the leadership team to define culture, and then use this to position ourselves as a leader in the marketplace. Total Rewards encourage top talent to stay at your company for more than just the job. If you value learning and development or health and wellness, you can build this into your total compensation plan. In turn, this helps you attract likeminded individuals and support your intended culture.

We hear a lot about culture in HR. What kinds of Total Rewards initiatives you have developed to build and reinforce your culture?

We have a very diverse workforce and it was important to us that we encourage work life balance amongst all employee groups. One way of doing this is having flexible schedules for employees so they can make their jobs work with their personal lives, and not have to sacrifice one for the other. We also stay competitive with market standards in terms of salary by reviewing yearly salary surveys.

Leadership and training are something we are heavily focused on right now. Our leadership team is working with a third party on how we can actually bring to life our purpose throughout the business. We are challenging management to step out of their comfort zone, and to challenge their teams to be the best they can. We stay open to employee feedback and encourage transparency at all levels.

What was the employee response to Delta-Q Technologies’ Total Rewards program?

So far employee response to our Total Rewards program has been very positive! Employees see that we care about what they think, and they continue to share with us what they would like to see. They are embracing it, and feel we are building unity, cultivating teamwork and supporting employees long-term.

How do you use Total Rewards as a selling point for candidates & employees?

We use our Total Rewards program to attract employees because we know it is an important element for job seekers when they are considering an offer. It helps us to stand out and be competitive against other employers. We outline the Total Rewards to candidates during the hiring process, to illustrate how much we value employees.

The Speed Round
1. What is the most important component of a Total Rewards program?

To foster employee morale and efficiency, and to establish overall culture through alignment of leadership team members.

2. Who should be involved in developing a Total Rewards Program?

Everyone. At the end of the day you need to know what your people want so all members of the organization should be included.

3. How do you measure the success / results of a Total Rewards program?

Feedback is a great way of determining success. You will see what is working and what is not working and how people are responding to the program.

4. How often should your Total Rewards program be reviewed and modified?

You should review your Total Rewards program continuously. The work is never done. What you thought might work, may not work. And over time changes will need to be made to adapt to the market.

5. What would you say to someone who is just beginning to develop a Total Rewards program for their organization? 

Make sure you align your long-term strategy with your culture and evaluate the best channels for your individual business needs.

About the Future Perfect Expert Series 

In our quest to make businesses human, we are proud to produce the Future Perfect Expert Series. These Q&A articles feature industry experts sharing inside scoop on how they are tackling common pain points in their organization. Subscribe today to receive new instalments of the Future Perfect Expert Series right in your inbox!