Mainstream in Manila: Total Rewards

The region’s top HR and rewards (Comp & benefits) leaders are converging in Manila July 26/27 for the ASEAN Total Rewards Institute’s Total Rewards Congress. This marks the emergence of total rewards as a mainstream business priority in the Philippines. Why is this? A total rewards approach is the key to attracting and retaining talent in a competitive market for talent, especially in a growing economy in a growing region with a very challenging business environment.

Imagine managing HR in the Philippines, the world’s second largest exporter of talent (behind India), a country where:

  • employment regulations, job protections and mandatory benefits are so burdensome, 41% of workers have no employment contract at all, and those with contracts are often terminated before gaining permanent status at 6 months;
  • where employers are mostly paternalistic and “love” their workers like family, yet unions can be hostile, even violent;
  • where traffic congestion is awful and getting worse, yet employers resist supporting work at home arrangements due to traditional management mindsets…

But to the HR and C&B managers in the Philippines, this is normal. In fact, throughout most of ASEAN, these challenges are familiar.

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So how can a total rewards approach make a difference?

Three ways:

  1. First, total rewards looks at compensation & benefits differently, not as a “minimum cost, maximum copy” system where you simply follow industry norms and avoid paying people more than necessary.  Total rewards experts view cash compensation and benefits from a strategic point of view, selecting specific approaches for these areas to maximize value for money, rather than simply reduce cost. For example, many organizations provide very competitive pay, but it is more generous on the performance bonus which is “self-funding” based on financial business results. Many organizations support preventive healthcare and wellness to reduce demand for healthcare, not focusing simply on insurance costs which only address healthcare supply.
  2. Second, total rewards includes both tangible (compensation and benefits) and intangible rewards, such as work-life/flexible work arrangements, recognition, development and career opportunity, as well as leadership/management. Any employer can compete on salary to hire someone, but retaining good talent requires more, including a fair and consistent approach to promotion, opportunity to learn new things and occasional recognition.
  3. Third, a total rewards approach is dynamic, addressing changing needs and preferences of workers, who represent millennials, long-service staff, singles as well as those with dependents, etc. The art of total rewards is to design the right “rewards mix” that will attract and retain both today’s and tomorrow’s workforce, in light of labor market trends, business needs and other factors.

Come join us in Manila to hear from an outstanding panel of global and local speakers, at the ATRI Total Rewards Congress.

Live interview on Manila’s ANC Early Edition, with Mimi Ong: Why Total Rewards?

Following the congress, ATRI will be introducing training and certification in total rewards at the specialist, professional and fellow/strategic level. Visit the ATRI website for more information.

For more on the total rewards approach, read Why a Total Rewards Approach is Critical.

To watch my recent interview on ABS-CBN News Channel Early Edition from their facebook page, click here.

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