15 Trends From the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference 2016

ITA Group
ITA Group

WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference Booth

The WorldatWork 2016 Total Rewards Conference is a wrap!

The ITA Group team had a blast in San Diego, and we learned from the best in the HR industry about the latest in benefits, compensation, employee recognition and more while sharing the news about whole-employee wellbeing.

Here’s a quick look at what some of our team learned throughout the conference:

Rob Danna

Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing

  1. Compensation and benefits are changing drastically. The potential federal minimum wage increase and its rippling effects were frequently mentioned, and changing workforce attitudes are requiring human resources to look at every benefit they offer, along with their work environments.

  2. Recognition spend is shifting. Companies are reallocating spend from traditional recognition programs (e.g. peer and service awards) to results-driven programs (e.g. biometric indices, KPIs and quality metrics).
  3. HCM (Human Capital Management) research companies are merging. Aon and Hewitt are now Aon Hewitt; Towers Watson is now Willis Towers Watson. More than that, they’re in high demand—their research is highly desired, and traditional research companies need to move much faster or they will be made obsolete by technology.
  4. Analytics and data visualizations are the new black. It’s not about the data (we’re inundated with data from HCM 1.0). HCM 2.0 is all about what insights you can get from the data and how technologies can interoperate. There are all sorts of new ways to interpret your data to make better decisions.
  5. Bike desks are pretty darn cool. And I want one.

Maggie Wenthe

Solution Manager

  1. Engagement and wellbeing program branding is crucial. This point came up over and over again. Branding is more than a communication tactic—it’s an engagement tactic. The more your employees can mentally connect the programs your organization offers, the more likely they’ll understand the breadth of what you offer and realize the total benefits available to them. And be careful when rolling out a global brand—some colors and symbols mean different things in different cultures.

  2. Continually talk to your team. Quick “pulse” surveys will allow you to catch any upcoming or changing trends so your organization can react more quickly. It’s more than a thumbs up or thumbs down, but much less than a formal annual employee engagement survey. Small groups are another great way to gather intel on what motivates your team.
  3. The definition of “wellbeing” is shifting. It’s more than just yoga mats and salads. For increasingly more companies, wellbeing means the inclusion of the financial, spiritual and emotional elements. Financial especially—it’s the biggest stressor employees bring to work with them. Strive5, the whole-employee wellbeing solution by ITA Group, reflects this dynamic.
  4. Make sure your employees know why your program exists. It’s not a bad thing to tell them that it’s good for business, and it’s not something to sweep under the rug. Why? A healthier, happier employee is a more engaged and productive employee. What’s good for them is good for business, and an investment in your team is an investment in your company.
  5. Make sure you have buy-in from all levels. There’s nothing that slows down employee engagement more than a team member or executive who drags their heels. Make sure you have executive sponsorship in your programs and get buy-in from local management or managers on the front lines. On top of that, consider a steering committee or location “champions” to promote the program and keep it front-of-mind.

Greg Sheldon

Business Development Manager

  1. Millennials are just the beginning. Generation Z is hot on their tails—and are coming in even larger numbers than millennials.

  2. …and they are changing how work is conducted. From technology to the role of work itself, millennials and generation Z are bringing disruptive new ideas. They want work that’s collaborative and team-based. They see work as play, purpose and potential. And employers need to keep up with their needs.
  3. The role of feedback is changing. As demographics shift, so does the way feedback needs to be delivered. Many companies are trending toward faster, more actionable feedback, with ratingless appraisals, frequent check-ins with employees and crowdsourced evaluations, including peer input.
  4. There are five key enablers of an effective recognition program:
    - An actively participating, visible senior leadership
    - Manager and employee buy-in
    - Meaningful, personalized recognition
    - A healthy budget and available resources
    - An easy-to-use platform
  5. Sync your strategy with your company mission. Your program strategy can’t push your people toward a goal that isn’t in line with what your company wants. Keep both of them in mind and you’ll see your program push your company further.

Check out what the incredible speakers from the WorldatWork Total Rewards Conference 2016 had to say:

"The problem with best practices is that it is what worked in the past—think next practices." –Josh Linkner


"When you start publicly cheering for people, they cheer back." –Mel Robbins


"If you want to connect with people, you have to say something that connects you." –Tim Gard