Communication Solutions — a Total Compensation Report

Blanchard Valley Health Association (BVHA) is an integrated regional health system based in Findlay, Ohio. It serves an eight-county area and is one of the region's largest employers. BVHA's roots go back to 1891 when the anchor hospital, Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, was founded. BVHA, like most employers, is concerned about effectively and cost efficiently communicating the value of its total compensation package to employees.

In addition to total compensation communications, BVHA is also concerned about focusing on different compensation and benefit related issues from year-to-year so that the message is always relevant and timely.

Findley Davies worked very closely with BVHA's Human Resources Department to define the parameters of a Total Compensation Report (TCR) and explore what the potential variations could be from year to year. These included format, style, colors, content, and layout. A significant effort was made to address data gathering so that it would be done as cost effectively as possible.
A projected cost was assigned to each format so that BVHA would have a high degree of confidence that at least a basic TCR could be produced in a year with tight budget restrictions. Very early on, BVHA made its commitment clear to have annual total compensation communications. That's why it was important to have a consistent vehicle, like a Total Compensation Report (TCR), but one that is flexible in content, design, and cost to produce.

BVHA's primary objectives were to create a dynamic communication vehicle that describes employees' total compensation; allows the communication vehicle to focus, annually, on the most critical, topical benefit or compensation issue; and have a cost-effective vehicle to accommodate budget variations that can occur from year to year. The BVHA Total Compensation Reports have run the gamut from an award winning, multi-color, multiple page booklet to a trifold to a single page. The TCRs were prepared with different messages in mind. In some years, the focus was on retirement plan issues—the traditional pension plan and/or the 403(b) plan. In other years, the focus has been on health and welfare plan issues. The success of the TCRs can be measured in a number of ways. For example, 403(b) plan participation has risen when the focus was on retirement. When health and welfare plan issues were highlighted, health care costs began to stabilize and rates of increase steadied. Finally, and perhaps most telling, employees ask for their "Apple Reports" so that they can compare their total compensation from year to year. A robust, red, healthy looking apple has been the consistent graphic element in the reports from year to year and employees themselves created "Apple Report" as the name for the TCRs. These are all clear signs that the TCRs are doing their job in educating employees on their total compensation at BVHA.

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