For the last few years, there’s been confusion – and frustration – as companies try to figure out the right blend of programs and perks to round out their competitive compensation packages. And it’s only gotten more daunting as competition to recruit and retain employees has grown increasingly fierce. 

Total rewards compensation isn’t a new area of focus for most companies. Moving beyond traditional compensation packages, companies have rebuilt and reframed their employee benefits packages with offerings like variable pay incentives, health and well-being programs and workplace flexibility options. 

So why should leaders care about total rewards compensation? Because employees do: 

  1. Total rewards demonstrate an employer’s commitment to their team’s well-being. From health and fitness incentives to childcare benefits, and financial planning assistance to professional development compensation, a total compensation package invests in employees outside of 9-5. 
  2. And that can substantially improve employee engagement and motivation. Simply, when people recognize a meaningful investment in their well-being, they’re more likely to devote their time and talent productively at work. 
  3. Plus, employee perks reinforce positive company culture. A total rewards program communicates to employees that they are valued and appreciated for the work they do and the person they are. 

It’s more than the salary because employees are more than producers. They don’t just want to feel valued by their leaders; they want tangible, quantifiable support. Sure, a basic salary increase could cover the cost of a gym membership, but today’s workforce prefers total compensation packages that deliberately indicate an employer’s investment in the myriad aspects of their employees’ lives.  

Here are five key areas of employee perks that team members really care about and that leaders should consider when restructuring their employee benefits: 

  1. Wider work hours. A more open schedule allows both those morning people and those night owls the opportunity to work when they are naturally most productive, benefiting everyone involved. 
  2. Workplace flexibility. Some employees appreciate the rhythm of a commute and the separate spaces for work and home, but others are happier (and more productive!) with more flexible options.  
  3. Non-traditional health benefits. Health is more holistic than a yearly visit to a doctor and a plan in place in case of an emergency. Rather than reactive care, non-traditional health benefits like gym memberships and wellness incentive programs place the emphasis on preventive maintenance. 
  4. Unconventional PTO programs. Whether implementing pooled PTO banks, unlimited PTO (within a set of parameters), or some other structure, paid time off gives employees the space to recharge when they need it, which means greater satisfaction and higher retention within the company. 
  5. Company-sponsored training. When employees are provided access to professional development and training, it’s a win for everyone within the company by closing skills gaps and increasing employee satisfaction. 

Leaders don’t have to guess at what employee benefits their team members value most. By using total rewards software, leaders can learn exactly what lands and what doesn’t with their employees. And then they can leverage that knowledge smarter and more effectively in their total rewards marketing efforts. Because total rewards isn’t just about retaining talent, it’s also about attracting top recruits. 

In this competitive and often fickle market, a well-designed total rewards program could be the key differentiator that secures offers. Traditional packages just don’t cut it anymore. The highest salary doesn’t always win the top prospects. More than ever, recruiting requires a targeted marketing effort around total compensation packages. The digital offer letter that includes non-traditional employee benefits communicates a person-first company culture. Salary matters, of course. But top prospects understand the incredible value of a positive work environment. 

Current and prospective employees want to get value and be valued. Nothing demonstrates a commitment to value better than a deliberately designed, data-driven total rewards compensation package – a creative and comprehensive set of employee perks that reflects a positive company culture and emphasizes the person over the producer. Leaders who adapt to the evolving priorities of the current workforce by implementing a total rewards platform will best position their companies to retain and recruit top talent.