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Communicating Total Rewards—Telling Your Total Rewards Story


Creating great policies and offering exceptional programs are only the beginning of your total rewards. Creative approaches that improve perceived value also require communicating holistically to tell your story.

In this session, Jen Benz, SVP at Segal Benz, joins Brad Kempf, Head of Global Benefits at Stripe, and Steve Morgan, VP Total Rewards at FanDuel, to share how Stripe and FanDuel crafted their total rewards stories, from conception to finished product, and the impact this had on their employees.

Learn how to:

  • Link compensation and benefits and why it’s important to do so
  • Make complex topics come to life for your employees
  • Measure what matters to your employees
  • Incorporate employee feedback as you tell your total rewards story

This webinar was previously recorded. View the full transcript below.


Communicating Total Rewards—Telling Your Total Rewards Story

Webinar Transcript:

Lisa Hunter: Jen Benz, who is the Senior Vice President of Communications and the communications lead at Segal Benz, is joined by Brad Kempf who heads Global Benefits at Stripe, and Steve Morgan who leads Total Rewards at FanDuel. We're hearing from three really talented folks who have different populations that they serve, and Jen's background across various industries is just terrific as she works with her team. And to kick us off in this session, rather than just going to the usual chat, we've got a great video that helps tell the story. So with that, I hand it over to the team and remind everybody to put their questions in the Q&A. I know you guys will chat with each other on general stuff, but questions to the presenters should go in the Q&A. And with that, we're going to go to the video. Have a great session, folks.

Jen Benz: Hello, everyone. I am delighted to be with you all today. Thank you to Lisa for the wonderful intro, and to her and The Conference Board for their partnership on this event. We love this event every year, and I'm really looking forward to our discussion: Telling Your Total Rewards Story. If you caught the opening session yesterday, Ivan Pollard from The Conference Board made a really great point about how humans connect to and need stories in our lives. He said we should share a beautiful story about total rewards as part of a beautiful story about our companies. That's exactly the focus of our session today, and I could not be happier to have Brad and Steve joining us. Thank you both so much for being here. Let's jump right in and hear a little bit about Stripe and FanDuel. Brad, do you want to kick us off?

Brad Kempf: Sure. Hi, everyone. My name is Brad Kempf. I lead the Global Benefits team at Stripe and I've been with Stripe just short of three years. I'll hit my anniversary this summer. A little bit about Stripe. Stripe is pretty unique as a company. We are both a technology company, but also financial services. We provide online payment processing and other business tools to help companies start, run, and scale their businesses. We have dual headquarters in San Francisco and in Dublin, Ireland, and we currently have just over 7,000 employees in over 27 countries. From a total rewards perspective, which we'll dive into a lot over the next few minutes, we take an approach of offering as much flexibility and choice in our benefits as possible.

Jen: Great, thanks Brad. Steve?

Steve Morgan: Sure. My name is Steve Morgan. I'm the VP of Total Rewards at FanDuel. I've been at FanDuel for four and a half years. A little bit about FanDuel. We are one of the leading sports betting gaming and entertainment companies in the U.S. We are owned by our parent company, Flutter, which is based out of Ireland in the UK. In terms of employee counts, we have about 4,000 in Canada, the UK, and the U.S. A little over 3,000 or so are based in the U.S. FanDuel started in 2009, so about 15 years ago. And in terms of where we are, we have about seven cities, so I think five or so in the U.S. and then the UK and Canada. In terms of total rewards as it relates more specifically to benefits, our main vision is around removing barriers to care, having low, no cost, medical, dental, vision. We'll talk about it in a bit, but really rounding out the total benefits package with a lot of different supplemental benefits to make sure our employees are performing at their best.

Jen: Great, thank you. Well, for the audience, a little bit of how we'll set up today. We're going to hear a little bit more from Brad and Steve around their strategies and brands and really the focus of their efforts. Then we're going to see what everything looks like from the employee perspective. I'm going to get to show off the beautiful work that we do together, then hear a little bit more about measurement and what Brad and Steve are thinking about going forward. And then at the end of the session, we'll have time for Q&A. So please put in your questions, we'll get to as many of them as we can. So to start with some of our discussion, what stands out in the video we saw at the beginning is that you both have really unique and compelling brands. Can you share a bit more about your brand and your company story? Steve, do you want to get us started?

Steve: Sure. So in terms of FanDuel, we were, again, founded in 2009. We didn't really explode until 2018 when there was a law that was repealed allowing states to determine legality of sports betting. New Jersey was where we launched initially, so it's been a more recent story for us in terms of FanDuel. We're a pretty young company in terms of our employee base, and it's a really, really challenging industry to operate in. It's very, very dynamic so there's a significant focus on attracting, retaining really high quality talent so we can maintain our leadership position. So it is of utmost importance, and things move really, really fast that we can attract and retain the best talent in our industry.

Jen: Great. Brad, what about Stripe?

Brad: Yeah, I think there's a lot of similarities between Stripe and FanDuel. Stripe is also relatively new. We were founded in 2010 by John and Patrick Collison. Stripe's story is really cool because the original premise of the business was created with just nine lines of code, which allowed developers to just copy and paste those nine lines of code to be able to enable credit card payments on their websites. And then fast-forward 14 years later, we now offer a broad suite of financial tools that handle everything from DoorDash driver payouts to taxes for Duolingo in-app payments and subscriptions to The Atlantic, for example. And our customers operate in almost every industry and in every country. Stripe's main growth, kind of similar to FanDuel, really has happened the past 3 to 4 years where our company really grew and nearly doubled in size.

What's also really cool and unique about Stripe when it comes to our products that actual Stripe users and customers use is that there’s so much user testing that goes into them, and they get massive amounts of feedback from our customers and take that into account when creating new products and improving existing ones. One of the operating principles of Stripe is putting users first, which are our customers in everything we do. And we also take that mantra and it holds true for our rewards programs. So we get a lot of input and feedback on our programs from Stripe leadership and employees. That may sound burdensome and not the normal way to do things, but it's actually a really great thing because it's really helped inform the design of our programs. It's helped draft communications and making sure we're getting the right message out.

It's helped us create tools and resources that really resonate with our employees, and it helps them really understand how we went about this and how they can utilize their programs and what it means to them. We also recognize that every employee is very unique. Everybody has different priorities, they're in different stages of their lives, and we aim to provide employees with choices in how Stripe invests in them. As I mentioned before, flexibility and choice is really at the core of all of our rewards offerings. I often tell my team that, look, as rewards professionals, we can very easily design programs. We all have the experience, we all have the knowledge to do so, but at the end of the day, the best investments that we can make in our programs are the ones that employees actually want and will actually use, not just because we think it's a cool benefit.

Jen: Yeah, that's great. That's super helpful of both of you, the company background, and then Brad, you translate that company background into how it informs your rewards philosophy. Steve, tell us a little bit more with FanDuel. How does the company background and your fast growth inform your rewards and benefits strategy now?

Steve: Yeah, no, just to add on to what Brad was mentioning there, I mean it's a very similar approach that probably Stripe's a little more unique in terms of how they really go down the choice route, but for us, it's really around when we're bringing in a lot of talent. Just said, they're in the younger generations. A lot of them are ready to start a family, they're more on the millennial or Gen Z generations.

When we're putting out a lot of our programs and figuring out what we're looking to offer, we're really listening to them and trying to make sure that what we're offering will be relevant to the life stage that they're going to be at. If we're going to push out a benefit, we don't want to push out a benefit that is not going to be used. We want to devote our resources elsewhere. So really around relevancy of the program, and then following it up very, very closely, the communication approach around those and how they can be used and how to use them. Because sometimes that can be a barrier for folks in terms of what you're launching if it's a complicated process.

Jen: Yep, that's great. All right, let's talk a little bit about your priorities with benefits and rewards. What has been the focus the last couple of years? And that'll tee up looking at some of the materials. Brad, do you want to start us off?

Brad: Yeah, sure. So when I joined Stripe, we had really great programs in place and that's for all of our rewards, so compensation, equity, and benefits. But we did not have a lot of great information actually explaining these programs and how to use them, what they meant, and how they impacted each individual. We actually received a lot of feedback from employees that our programs seemed really great, but they just didn't understand them. For example, they didn't understand how their compensation was set, they didn't understand how equity worked, they didn't understand how to utilize certain benefit programs. Even before they could try to understand their programs, they couldn't easily find the information that we did have available, it was just very difficult to locate. And once they did find it, it was hard to navigate within the content to find answers. We really quickly shifted our content management strategy, and built out a new comprehensive total rewards website to act as the single source of truth for all of our programs.

We also integrated it into our intranet with search functionality because we wanted to make sure that employees could quickly and easily find information that they were looking for. We were also very intentional in showcasing all of our rewards programs. And at Stripe, that means benefits, compensation, equity, and talent mobility. We wanted to be very transparent in our approach to program design. As I said earlier, we get a lot of feedback and input from all Stripe employees. We want to make sure that we listen to that input and feedback and that everybody understands the story behind our rewards and why we're making decisions the way we are and why we're designing programs the way we are. We've found it goes a long way explaining the why behind our programs.

One of the other principles at Stripe that's really, really important is we take craft and beauty very seriously. That goes into designing our products and how we interact with our customers and the materials available to them. We've also taken an approach internally with all our total rewards and just people materials, such as our Total Rewards website, to really make sure things are technologically advanced, look very nice and very cohesive, and can just be navigated very easily and just good useful materials.

Jen: Yeah, that's great. The craft and beauty is such a nice way to frame that. Steve, what about with FanDuel? What have been your priorities the last couple of years, teeing up what you've done with communications that we'll see in a moment?

Steve: So when I joined, we were on a PEO, so we had very limited control over really what was being offered and knew that with our growth trajectory it just wasn't going to be sustainable. We brought everything in-house on January 1, 2022, and really the beginning of 2022 was about getting the basics right and making sure our feeds worked and everything of that nature. But then in true FanDuel fashion, we quickly shifted focus in the back half of '22 and said, okay, we think we have a solid general offering of benefits, but to really, truly be the best in the business, we got to amplify what we're offering and did a number of RFPs to really build our portfolio of benefits representative of our employees. With open enrollment, we knew if we're going to be launching five to seven new benefits all at once, if we don't communicate this appropriately, we're going to be wasting a lot of money.

And really, that's when we began our engagement with Segal Benz. I remember going to our leadership team. It was an easy sell to get the ability to do our communications in a whole different way. We were doing very basic communications and really that was the first, we'll show you in a moment stuff we're immensely proud of in terms of our initial communications and how we've done it over the last two years. But it was really a phenomenal launch and implementation of all of those benefits. And without a successful communication strategy, we would've fell flat. It really wouldn't have resonated with our employee base because a lot of the benefits we were offering were what was being requested or in our employee engagement survey. We started from nothing to where we are today, so it's a pretty big improvement from two plus years ago.

Jen: That's great. That point about launching a bunch of new programs without people really understanding them is just so important. Without that engagement, it's really not a good investment of time or money to get programs off the ground. There's a couple questions that have come in like can we see what the brands look like? So yes, this is what we'll do. Let's start with Stripe, and look at a bit of how the campaigns and the materials actually have come together. Brad, I'll let you take us through this starting off with the total rewards website.

Brad: Yeah, so what you're seeing here is just a snapshot of our general total rewards website. We set out to create this site for a global audience. As I said, we have employees in 27 countries, and we just wanted to have one place for them to go to find all of their information. So the way we approached it was to provide consistent information on our global compensation, equity, and talent mobility programs because those are much more uniform globally. And then from the benefits perspective, which is much more specific to each country, we created built out pages specific to each country. But the overarching goal with the site was to make it visually appealing. This is very on the Stripe brand. If you were to look at, you would see so much similarity. It's very simple, it's very visually appealing, and it's just spot on with the tone and the brand of Stripe.

We also set out to explain very complicated topics much more simply and clearly. As you all know, benefits are very technical, compensation equity programs are very technical. While we have a very technical group of employees who are mostly engineers, very engineer heavy at Stripe, we still had to explain things in simple terms, because nobody besides us on here really understand the legalese of these programs. We also had to be very comfortable explaining things in much more detail than you would normally see on a rewards website. So there's a lot of content where we have a lot of pages where we have a lot of written content, but we also try to balance that with a lot of visuals such as charts, which we have coming up in a different slide, and a short video we'll show you a clip of, we really tried to give a mix to lend to the different styles of learning and understanding.

Jen: It is a really rich site in terms of the amount of content, but as you said, the visuals, and then laying the content out in a way that's very simple, very easy to scan, has made a big difference in terms of people being able to really dive into really deep topics. This is an example of the leave of absence page, and then we have an example chart that goes with it too.

Brad: We also, I saw a question coming through about having multiple sites, but we actually have a main site for our employees, which is behind our firewall. And then we have a recruiting site which is available to the public, which you can see a shot of here, but as you can see, they look nearly identical. This has been a really big benefit for our recruiters and helping reinforcing the brand and really telling the total reward strategy.

Jen: And Brad, can you say a little bit more about the depth of content on the recruiting site versus the employee site?

Brad: Yes, it is much lighter. As I said, our employee site goes very in-depth because that's what our employees want, but we don't want all of our plan details and all of the design elements outside of the firewall. The way we approached the candidate site was more of an overall summary of our programs related to compensation, equity benefits. We wanted to give them just some of the higher level snippets of what they can expect. We provide enough information, but not the really in-depth. We also really wanted to tell the reward story to our candidates. As you can see on the front page there, we don't get into any specifics right away. This is actually telling the story of the rewards and our philosophy, why we have certain programs and what our focus areas are on.

Jen: Brad, you mentioned that the site is integrated with the intranet in terms of search. There was a question that came in asking does that mean that content is in both this website and the intranet? What is the one source of truth? Maybe if you can speak to that a little bit.

Brad: Yeah, they're actually separate. Our total reward site stands alone on its own platform that Segal Benz operates and manages for us. But we worked with our IT team, so on our intranet page, you can go to the home page and there's search functionality. If you type in medical plans, it'll actually pull up search results from the website onto the home page, the intranet. But then when you click on those links, it routes you to the actual total rewards site. The employee experience is rather seamless and they don't really know they're jumping to a standalone site because again, the look and feel is very similar and it's just clicking a link for them so it works out really well, and then we're not having to manage content in multiple places and we can truly have that single source of truth.

Jen: Yep, that's great. Was there anything else you wanted to share on the different pieces before we look at the video?

Brad: Yeah, I think, let's look at the video because one of the things I mentioned was the visualization and balancing actual word content with actual visuals. And I think this snippet of a 401(k) video where we explain how Roth and after tax contributions work does a really good job of showing that visualization and simplifying a very complex topic into literally less than two minutes.

Jen: Yep, great.

Brad: Yeah, I wish we had time, you could see the whole video, but that's just a very short snippet. But as you can imagine, the rest of the video explaining how 401(k) plans work and different contribution types all has the same look and feel. It's just a really great representation and as I said, takes a very complex situation program design, and really simplifies it as best you can.

Jen: Yep. That's great. Thanks, Brad. Let's look a bit at FanDuel. And Steve, one of the questions that came in while you were talking about some of what you've done in the intro was if you could provide some examples of the new types of benefits you launched. And so I think as you tee this up, you can speak a bit to that. Oh, do we have Steve?

Steve: Sorry about that. We'll get to that in I think three slides. We'll show the rookie cards that we put together. But in terms of what we've launched, this was essentially our first campaign, and we did put it together quite quickly, but what we were looking to do here is just say “hey.” If you're familiar with terms, welcome to the show is when you get called up to the big leagues, you're welcomed to the show. And what we wanted to just emphasize here was, hey, we are going to be launching all of these new benefits, we've now hit the big time. It's open enrollment, it's time to make your picks. And we'll show this as we show all of the different graphics and whatnot.

We really try to maintain a voice that is very, very consistent with our brand to really, that really helps us tell our story because we're really trying to really carry forward our brand image with our benefit offerings. Benefit sometimes can be quite boring in how they're positioned, but in the way we do it, we think we really get people excited. So this was our first version 1.0 of our website, just some basic information that we had. We called our microsite.

And then in terms of the postcard that went along with this, so we had the site, we also sent on a postcard similar branding, welcome to the show, giving some more information. And the back of the postcard is here. You can talk about set your lineups. We're really carrying forward the brand and the image. And in terms of the question around what benefits we offer, like I mentioned, we were pretty basic back in early 2022 and we launched, so it was Health Advocate, Bright Horizons, Kindbody, Headspace, and Nudge all January 1, 2023. So we went full-on in terms of what we were offering. So we were implementing them and pushing them out all at once. So there's that image.

And then the first site we showed was version 1.0. This was, okay, now we actually have time to develop a 2.0 website so this is really the current view of what our website looks like. So it's, it is actually fully public, so it's accessible to anyone. We have our image where it's bright, it's fun, we have showtime, so we're really trying to carry through our brand identity. We're using our FanDuel colors.

In terms of what I thought went really, really well. We launched our benefits 1/1 2023. And then what we did in the first quarter of 2023 was we pushed out these rookie cards, so really aiming to increase engagement, telling our story around this wealth and portfolio of information. We have our Bright Horizons, our Nudge, Headspace, and Kindbody. What we did here was on a weekly basis, we pushed these out to our employee base to really re-engage them in our benefit offerings in a cool way. For those back in the day where their baseball cards had gum in it, we couldn't quite do the gum, but we were able to do the baseball cards.

And then what we did for this last enrollment campaign, similar. It's a field of dreams, we built it. This was a similar postcards we sent out in some of the imagery. Get pumped about what's in store for you. In 2024, we launched our gym pass, so I know it's been rebranded as Well Hub. So we were just, we hadn't actually notified or given any sort of information on what we were doing, it was just a hint around what we were doing and really launching that type of benefit was 100% based on the fact of our employee engagement survey. Gym reimbursements, gym discounts was our number one requested benefit in the future so we are really trying to meet our employees where they are.

And then I think the last one here is around something within the reward space, but partnering really with our talent development team was something else, we have a very close relationship with the rest of HR and creating this my play. So again, in the voice of FanDuel, all of our colors around talent development, so run, excelling at what you do, slide so making a lateral movement. And then the last one here is jump, so shooting for a promotion, so giving these things cool names versus just a lateral move or a promotion. So really trying to change our nomenclature of these things in the FanDuel voice.

Jen: Yep. That's great.

Steve: Just teeing up the video really quick. This is our hype video of our website when we relaunched it, so our version's 2.0 hype video to really get people engaged in visiting our website.

Jen: That's great. Thanks Steve, and thanks Brad for sharing those. We love all of these materials and how they've come together. We have a ton of questions coming in from the audience, so I'm just going to ask one more of the questions we planned and then switch over to that, which is how are you both measuring the success of these and what impact did you see of making these big investments in communications over the last few years? I don't remember who was going to start on that one. Go ahead, Steve.

Steve: I know we're at time, but I think we mentioned it a couple of times now. It was really in terms of our engagement surveys. We really take those to heart and we read all the comments and really weed out the ones that, like I mentioned, our gym benefit kept coming up and coming up and in the action on it. And then on the measurement side is really okay, once we've implemented those, what's the utilization? Are people actually signing up and using these benefits that they've asked for? And luckily, we've really been active on the communication front of all of our benefits and reengaging and reengaging and our utilization was essentially for all of the benefits we've offered has been above benchmark. I mean the gym benefit we launched was way beyond any of our expectations, so really the engagement surveys and then the utilization numbers of the benefits we're offering.

Brad: Stripe is very similar. We do two employee satisfaction surveys every year and in the surveys we have a couple of questions specific to total rewards, but they're really focused around how well Stripe employees understand their rewards. When we launched our total rewards site in the fall of 2022, so since then to now, we have seen a steady increase, which has been very significant in employees expressing that they understand their programs better now. We also look very closely at utilization of our programs to make sure that folks are actually using them and getting the most out of them. And then also, we track website visits and look at where employees are going on the website, what's important to them. We average about 4,400 site visits per month out of our 7,000 employees, and we are just continuing to be amazed by the level of engagement of people going to the site and finding their info.

Jen: Yeah. I'd add that when Steve and Brad shared some of the engagement score changes that they've seen, I was blown away by it. I mean just really, really amazing to be able to see what an impact these types of investments make, so just love seeing that. We have just a few more minutes for Q&A. I think Lisa's going to hop on with us to do a couple questions.

Lisa: Yep, I didn't know how to stop all this great conversation, but Jen, you did a great job of integrating some of the questions that came in the queue during the discussion. I want to go to a couple here that I think will resonate for quite a few folks. Let me start with one on engagement scores, because we all want to know how things are impacting the organization. This individual wanted to know, did engagement scores go up post implementation of all these benefits? I think that's both a specific question, and then maybe Jen, you can give an overall answer on that.

Jen: Yeah, I mean I think it's an easy yes on both. As Steve and Brad just mentioned, they were able to measure big impacts on the engagement scores. Anything else you want to add on that?

Steve: On the FanDuel side, it's out of one to 10, but we saw a 0.6% increase in engagement, which was the highest increase amongst all other categories within our employee engagement survey. We were exceptionally proud of that increase, and that it really made an impact.

Brad: Same for Stripe. When we launched our site, we saw double-digit increases in the understanding. Utilization is very, very important for us and we track that very closely, but one thing we're more proud of is just the feedback on actually understanding our programs.

Lisa: A quick question here because I think somebody's got an idea percolating in their organization. Can you share, how do you share the baseball cards? Email, internet, other? I'm guessing somebody's got an idea cooking.

Steve: We posted them on our site, and as we are doing these weekly relaunches, so we hosted them on our site. That was what we did. But we actually learned through analytics around click rates that we were sending out these emails, click here to go to the site to review and see the really the cool new benefits that people were opening the emails, but they weren't always clicking. So we actually embedded them within the emails, and then we saw a dramatic increase even in folks signing up for them based on doing it that way. We almost actually printed out and made physical baseball cards and sent them to our employees, but we didn't go in that direction, almost.

Lisa: In our final question, let's look to the future and where are we going with this? I'm giving you a very general question here so that you can each take just a couple of seconds because we're almost out of time.

Brad: I can jump in.

Lisa: Jen, do you want to start?

Jen: Brad, go ahead.

Lisa: Brad? Okay, great.

Brad: I was going to say for me and Stripe and total rewards, it's really three things. It's looking ahead, cost considerations are very real and very important in determining where to make investments between all of our reward programs. Second thing is continuing to refine our rewards content and tooling to improve that employee experience. And then finally, it's how can we take advantage of new technology, AI, and large language models? How can we use those tools to make the experience better?

Lisa: Great.

Jen: Steve?

Steve: Yeah, Brad read my mind. Really all three of those things that are our most important.

Jen: I would reiterate we're really excited about what's going on with AI, better, simpler, less expensive personalization that's going to come out of that, the new tools. And then also being able to just, I think so many companies understand the value of investing in communications, it's less about making that argument and more about, okay, what do we do to really move the needle like Steve and Brad have both shown? They've been able to really show great results. I think that's what we're most excited about looking ahead.

Lisa: Perfect. Well, on that note, thank you for all that amazing content today. I learned so many new things, and judging by the chat and the questions, so did others.