Each year, my employer sends out a “total compensation” statement. This statement shows the money that my employer pays me and pays others for my benefits. It’s a powerful statement because it reminds me of those things that you often take for granted. Health Insurance, 401k, tuition discounts, short term disability, life insurance, long term disability….I bet you are wishing you could be on our staff now! These things truly are benefits! Not rights – but privileges/blessings!
If your employer doesn’t provide this statement, you should request the information annually. So why? And what should you do with it:
1. Count your blessings. The money your employer spends on your benefits is money you have saved – while gaining those benefits. Take short-term disability for example. The money my employer spends is relatively small – it would probably cost me 3x that amount to purchase this benefit on my own. And then I personally benefited from STD after having my baby – providing over half of my normal pay for several weeks! I’m blessed!
2. Know your total compensation. Knowing what your employer pays in addition to your salary tells the true story. A story you must know when relocating or changing jobs. Use this information so that you are comparing apples to apples. For example, a friend of mine made a move without doing this math……in the end it was a serious demotion financially. The cost of health insurance was much higher in the new city and the new employer did not cover as much of the premiums. It may feel weird to ask these questions to a new employer – but it’s due diligence. Know what you are saying yes to.
3. Don’t forget the intangibles. Beyond the money is the emotional and spiritual compensation of a position. Looking at my compensation statement reminds me that my employers values are 100% in line with mine! For example, take the value of family. My compensation confirm the alignment of our values in many ways – time off and short term disability (see point 1). And don’t forget that ultimately the nonfinancial compensation (moral, organizational culture, integrity, character, influence) of a position far outweighs the financial matters. You flat couldn’t pay me ANYTHING to do a job that compromised my convictions. And likewise, there’s so much more than the $$ that makes me feel compensated in my current position!