It’s that time of year—open enrollment season is here! And as we know, this is a crucial time to effectively communicate important information surrounding your health and welfare plans to your employees.

Enrollment season also provides a timely opportunity to evaluate your company’s total rewards philosophy. 2021 has been marked by the “Great Resignation,” so it’s even more critical to consider revamping your company’s benefits package and those perks outside of your healthcare plan to help attract and retain top talent.

When it comes to total rewards, it’s much more than compensation and benefits. Today, candidates are also seeking a range of benefits that transcend what has been expected in the past. Employees want to feel valued and appreciated at work, have a healthy work-life balance and a clear path to advance in their careers.

The key to a successful total rewards strategy is balancing what your organization needs and what your employees want. It has a direct impact on how your company attracts, motivates and keeps the right talent. Below are four strategies to enhance total rewards while improving employee recruitment and retention.

If your organization has already implemented some of these strategies, it may be helpful to revisit those key benefits and look for any opportunities for enhancement.

1. Workplace flexibility

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the way we think about where, how and when we work. It’s an employee-centric market, and flexible work options are at the top of employees’ and job seekers’ lists.

A recent survey reports 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive when working from home. Over two-thirds of millennials, who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, say they would give up certain benefits for a more flexible working space. Additionally, nearly 90% of organizations report better employee retention rates due to their flexible work options.

It’s easy to see why people have grown to value workplace flexibility. While certain industries do not have the option to become fully remote, exploring flexible work options tailored to your organization’s goals is a great place to start.

As some organizations have successfully shifted to a fully remote environment, others have adapted to a hybrid model, with some combination of in-office and remote work. Many employees enjoy the balance of face-to-face collaboration and camaraderie in the office and the customized, more private workspace at home.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s up to each organization to determine the solution that best suits their needs. Moving forward, workplace flexibility will remain a key factor of a successful Total Rewards program.

2. Health and wellbeing

It’s hard to ignore the rapid growth of health and wellness programs in the workplace. Successful companies know that healthy and happy employees often lead to improved performance, which in turn means success and growth for the organization.

Stress management programs have recently seen an uptick in popularity before and during the pandemic. In the U.S., nearly two-thirds of employees say they are stressed all or most of the time at work. That statistic alone is staggering. Consider the overwhelming impact of investing in an employee mental health resource for your team members.

Resources like a 24/7 helpline or free mental health and therapy services through an Employee Assistance Program could make a huge impact.

There are a multitude of options to consider when planning your organization’s wellness offerings. Financial wellness workshops, stress management training and Employee Assistance Programs are all excellent resources that can take your total rewards to the next level.

3. Learning and development

When people think about the number one factor candidates look for in a job, pay and compensation automatically come to mind. While that may be true for some, compensation is not the most effective motivator. Research shows that money is an extrinsic motivator, a motivation derived from an external source in pursuit of a reward. But people are intrinsically motivated to learn. In other words, people learn for no other reason than that they genuinely want to learn something new.

Enter learning and development: the secret sauce for motivated and engaged employees. A 2021 LinkedIn report found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. The more employees feel they are invested in, the more motivated they are to remain with the company and keep their skills in-house.

Skills-based training, mentorship programs, interactive workshops, career planning and conferences are just a few methods your organization can consider offering through your Total Rewards program.

Employees want to feel valued and excited for the prospect of career growth and advancement. Including learning and development as a part of Total Rewards will help positively motivate your talent and make them feel like they are a vital part of the company’s success.

4. Competitive compensation

This final strategy may seem obvious but is worth mentioning. As the previous methods imply, money isn’t everything, but offering competitive pay can help employees feel like their work and time are valued.

A recent study shows the importance of offering a market rate: “salaries need not be the highest in your area, but they should be among the top. Paying low salaries means top people will leave and low performers will take their jobs.”

Compensation is certainly not limited to base pay. Consider also including employee bonuses and performance-related rewards. Your organization can tailor these forms of compensation to incentivize high productivity and promote a culture of high performance.

The more you recognize and reward your employees’ valuable contributions through competitive pay and other perquisites, the more loyal they will be.

In a world becoming vastly more competitive, the time to consider and implement (or enhance) a strategic Total Rewards program is now. We hope these strategies give you a solid starting point as you strive to increase your company’s employee retention and improve recruiting efforts.


To learn more about MJ’s approach to Total Rewards, watch our On Demand Webinar.