Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

If you're a small business with staffing concerns, you're not alone: over 50 per cent of business owners are worried about attracting the right candidates, and retaining their key players once they find them. The latter can be especially difficult in the startup space, where high salaries, amazing perks (free bikes! free apartments! free everything!) and recruitment tools like unlimited vacation time and company retreats to Japan can make it difficult to compete for talent.

In this climate, finding a way to keep your employees when they start thinking the grass might be greener somewhere else has never been more challenging. It's important to show existing staff they're appreciated, while also finding a way to attract new talent. What many business owners don't know is that the key to keeping employees satisfied is sitting right under their noses: the total compensation statement.

A total compensation statement is essentially a complete breakdown of everything your company invests in its employees. This goes beyond simply their salaries to include:

Story continues below advertisement

■ Total value of insurance and benefits

■ Bonuses

■ Vacation/sick pay

■ Investments in their growth, like event fees or education

■ Stocks, stock options or company equity

■ Retirement/savings contributions on their behalf

■ Wellness programs, like gym memberships or fitness incentives

Story continues below advertisement

■ Childcare

■ Transit and/or parking

In the startup space especially, many employees end up living and breathing your company's journey each step of the way, and it's essential to show that same level of care is reciprocated. Not only does a total compensation statement show the bigger picture in terms of a dollar amount you've invested in an employee, it also illustrates that your involvement in their lives doesn't begin and end at the office. The right benefits plan, detailed in the Total Compensation Statement, shows that you care about every facet of their lives, from fiscal planning to health care to their family's well-being.

It's helpful to provide both a bird's-eye-view figure and a deeper dive into the details of each point. For example, many employees don't understand their health benefits, or make little use of them, essentially leaving their money on the table at the end of each year. Highlighting these points can reveal a hidden raise which can change their view of their compensation for the better.

On the other side of the coin, employers shouldn't inflate the statement with numbers that may not be applicable, such as highlighting a transit subsidy to an employee who lives within walking distance of your office. This can actually create a negative perception that you're trying to pull the wool over their eyes or that the workplace you've built isn't designed for them. Highlight the ways you've invested in each employee, and personalize each report while being transparent and truthful.

The total compensation statement can also be incorporated into the recruitment process. Many companies don't offer this during the hiring process, so it will set you apart from the competition. You'll be illustrating that your company culture is about taking care of your employees, and your offer will stand head and shoulders above one that highlights salary alone. This is especially true if you have in-demand perks like education grants, comprehensive medical coverage, or paid leave.

Story continues below advertisement

The last and perhaps most important thing is to ensure your total compensation statement is up-to-date. Chances are, your benefits and office perks will change as your company grows, so highlighting the statement as a whole when these changes are implemented is a great best practice to keep the content fresh for your staff. At minimum, you should issue a report at the end of each year, but talking it over during staff meetings, quarterly reviews, or at key career points like promotions or parental leave will also reinforce the message that your staff's compensation goes far beyond their salary.

The most effective part of the total compensation statement is that most employees vastly underestimate the figure. Even if your staff isn't looking for work elsewhere, it's a pleasant surprise and can boost morale to show that their compensation is higher, and more comprehensive, than they thought.

Chris Gory is the founder of Insurance Portfolio Financial Services, a brokerage launched in 1999 that helps companies build benefits programs for their employees. Chris is passionate about helping entrepreneurs, and works with over 50 startup companies including Wattpad, 500px, and VarageSale. He is an advisor at the Ryerson Digital Media Zone and at the OneEleven startup hub, and he's led talks about employee benefits and insurance at several startup accelerators including Extreme Startups.

The Globe and Mail Small Business Summit brings the brightest entrepreneurs in Canadian business to Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto for an inspiring day of keynote talks, workshops and networking. Full lineup at

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies