Total Rewards in a Nut Shell

Are Your Total Rewards in Check?

Imagine a candidate has multiple offers on the table. Why should they choose your company to work for? The short-term reason is the monetary aspect but that only gets you so far.

The long-term reasons include a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic values that you want to be sure your organization has and be competitive with.

Compensation Strategy

This is the jumping off point. Be sure you have a set but flexible compensation plan that allows for brand new and seasoned employees while maintaining pay equity. I know that’s a mouthful. However, if you have pay grades and you put specific positions into each grade, then you have the flexibility I’m speaking of for all your employees.

Make sure if you offer incentives, such as bonuses or commissions they are specific to a position or level of management and keep them consistent across the board.

Sales and Marketing typically receive commissions based of of monthly or quarterly sales. Directors or Department Heads usually receive an annual incentive bonus for reaching preset goals.

Professional Development and Training

Employees want to feel like they matter in an organization. One way to do this is to invest in development and training so they grow in their roles. If they feel your are investing in their education at the workplace, their reasons for jumping ship to another organization will diminish.

There are several types of training and development.

  • Seminars and Conferences: These are usually specific to their position i n the company like HR, Marketing, Executive Leadership, and Sales.
  • Tuition Reimbursement Programs: You can either assist in their further education by paying for it or you can offer to pay for certificate or license testing fees. You may even do both.
  • Annual Required Training: If you have this type of training because of a license or state required mandate, be sure that your professional development for this group of people is in addition to this already mandatory training.

By being fair and consistent to all of your employees, you will benefit from their newly acquired education that ultimately give the organization the push it needs to reach the yearly goals set by leadership.

Retirement Plans and Benefit

401(k)’s or 403(b)’s

Today’s retirement plans are easy to administer if you have the partners. Your financial adviser and record keeper. These two entities are there to assist you and your team members.

Financial advisers should be knowledgeable and have the ability to communicate with the employees to educate and guide them through to retirement.

The record keeper should have an employee portal or website that is easily navigated and gives the employee a snapshot on their front page of how much money they have saved to date, the percentage or dollar rate of deferral they are currently using, the funds they are investing in, and a retirement calculator to see how they are doing and what they need to change in order to reach their retirement goals.

The website should also be user friendly for making changes online, requesting loans, or taking distributions. The investing funds should be listed including a Pre-tax and Roth option. Make sure you don’t have too many options. Employers have a fiduciary responsibility to make it the best plan it can be at a reasonable cost to the employee.


To compete in the market you need to have the standard benefits such as Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, and Accidental Dismemberment. Some organizations offer short-term and long-term disability as a paid benefit where others have it as a voluntary program.

What other benefits are available that you can add to your total rewards package to give you an edge?

  • Pet Insurance
  • Voluntary Life Insurance
  • Voluntary Accident Plans
  • Voluntary Cancer Plans
  • Bus passes – either payroll deduct or employer funded
  • Wellness Plans – giving a cost break to employees for reaching certain health goals.
  • On-site Child care
  • Additional Holidays
  • Discount Service Memberships
  • Gym Memberships – either on-site or employer funded

These are just a few of the options you can add to your total compensation package.

Work-Life Balance

This provides employees flexibility in their schedules including non-traditional work hours like a 4-10 or 3-12 work week.

Opportunity during the year to take a paid volunteer day so that the employee can use their time to volunteer for causes that are important to them or their families.

Employers should make sure, no matter how busy they are to give the mandatory break and lunch periods to their team members. People need “brain breaks” to re-focus, decrease stress, and refresh. Encouraging your employees to use their vacation or PTO time gives them the rest and relaxation they need. I don’t have to remind you (too late), that you don’t want your employees working while on vacation either. That’s not really resting now, is it?

This may not seem like a work-life balance suggestion but purchasing the technology that will make the work portion of your employees days much easier and efficient will help to keep stress at a manageable level.

Organizational Culture

Without diving down the rabbit hole of company culture which is an entire topic on it’s own, let me just state that is is a powerful recruiting tool. A great company culture attracts people who want that type of environment in the organization they are potentially spending forty-plus hours a week at. Culture can inspire employees to be more productive and can decrease turnover. That in itself should be enough reason to make it a priority. I will restate here that organizational culture does not just lie within human resources. It is a company-wide initiative and must have buy-in at all levels starting with the CEO.

Author: peoplewrangler

Executive Director, HR Professional, and Author. I write what inspires me and should inspire others to be excellent leaders in and out of the office.

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