As the future of work evolves, employees and employers are thinking about work differently. In order to attract, motivate, retain and engage a productive workforce, employers know they need to offer employees an array of programs and culture of support to help employees succeed at work and in their personal lives.  

Employees achieve more

During the past several years, this concept of total rewards has advanced considerably amongst human resources (HR) professionals, consulting firms, service providers and academic institutions. Total rewards include everything the employee perceives to be of value resulting from the employment relationship. This goes far beyond the traditional health care and retirement benefits employees tend to expect out of an employment arrangement.

"This new way of thinking delivers advantages to an employer in attracting, motivating, retaining and engaging its employees — and improving the bottom line."

This new way of thinking delivers advantages to an employer in attracting, motivating, retaining and engaging its employees — and improving the bottom line. And for employees, total rewards promises to deliver not just a paycheck but also work-life effectiveness, recognition, career development, personal satisfaction with their work and an increased ability to achieve success at both work and home.

A smarter strategy

For organizations, total rewards should be a top business strategy. Compensation, benefits, work-life effectiveness, recognition, performance management and talent development are key elements organizations need to leverage. Each element contains programs, practices and dimensions that define an organization’s overall strategy toward its employees. This works optimally when created within the context of the business strategy, an organization’s culture, its HR strategy, external influences such as competition and regulations, and the location of the workforce. 

Improving relationships

Total rewards programs demonstrate the dynamic relationship between employer and employees. We work in an ever-changing world, with new ideas and influences affecting our lives each workday. The beauty of the total rewards mix is that it is unique to each organization, aligned with its mission and strategy, which applies to the business as well as human capital. Having someone at the helm of total rewards (or with an eye on total rewards) allows for the mix to fluctuate, not only as a result of external forces that impact organizations today, but internal influences as well. 

The benefits derived from working once thought adequate decades ago when our fathers were in the workplace no longer fit our twenty-first century world. Organizations seeking to remain competitive need to think outside the lines, not just in product ideas but also across the boundaries of their own workplace culture and structure.