A total rewards package contains many different elements that are meant to compensate employees, in some way, for the time they spend on the job. Companies are unable to follow a specific plan because different industries have different needs, but every company can use a total rewards system to make sure that they have the best employees and are able to keep them. However, there are issues with this system and solutions are just beginning to come to light.
Some, even in the total rewards community, continue to believe that compensation in the form of monetary rewards and simple benefits should be enough to satisfy employees and keep them engaged. Unfortunately, this is not true. A benefits package that includes such items as a comprehensive medical plan, some type of retirement, and other monetary rewards is not enough to make productive employees out of even the best workers. Research has shown that employee satisfaction (and therefore productivity) is not engendered by giving simple monetary compensation for their efforts. People want to feel that they are a part of a caring employer that also rewards them intrinsically. This means, employees respond better if they are engaged in the worksite rather than just expected to perform for monetary compensation.
Thus, the fix to this problem is to expand rewards programs to include all manner of creative compensation elements. Many companies have begun using flexible scheduling for their employees. Others have added in-house daycare or nap rooms which help substantially with productivity. Human resource departments need to think creatively about the compensation that employees receive because employees want to feel a part of something larger than just a place to work. If they do, the company will be rewarded.
HR Total Rewards Programs
For many years the belief was the compensation was the most important aspect of the total rewards package (Carlton, Anderson, Johnson, Longton & Lulli, 2011). According to research the thought was that a worker would be willing to endure the rigors of a difficult job or work environment if they were compensated at a high rate. If the compensation package, which included benefits, was enough to make the person's personal life meaningful, it would matter less that the job was less than desirable. This was the case in many occupation types where there was a great deal of travel, danger, or the potential for difficult assignments. The research indicated that employees agreed with this tactic at one time (Hsieh & Chen, 2011), but times have greatly changed what employees want from a job.
The fact that people are much more willing to job hop now than they once were (people remaining with the same employer has fallen dramatically in the past 25 years (Hsieh & Chen, 2011)) echoes the change in what young people believe is a good job experience. Generations X and Y are more interested in a job experience that allows them to be more creative, and an employer that demonstrates their feelings of employee worth in more ways than just monetary. Employers are also aware that employees are more than willing to seek other opportunities if their present job is not what they want. Even the present financial and job crisis has not stopped this. People are also much more willing to seek other types of jobs than those they were specifically trained for.
The issue of changing from a strictly compensation-based paradigm to one in which employers realize that employees want more out of the job experience has been happening for about a decade not, but many employers find it difficult to change. The fact is, employees also find it difficult to actually ask for what they want. In today's environment, employers need to be creative in their total rewards packages to draw the best employees to their companies.
The total rewards thinking was actually generated from this problem. Although compensation, in all of its forms, is desirable and employees want it to be as solid as possible, researchers found that employee satisfaction was not as related to a compensation package as employers once thought (Trahant & Yearout, 2006). The goal is to integrate the workplace and the employee's personal life to such a degree that the employee feels at home on the job and is excited about going to work.
Companies have tackled this issue in various ways with the primary objective being to completely redraw what a company should look like. Employee satisfaction is more a factor of employees knowing that they have done a good job and being able to relax at work (Yang & Kassekert, 2010). The research indicates that a company should reward employees both intrinsically and extrinsically. This means that an employee wants to know that what they do makes a difference, and the individual needs to hear that from management (Yang & Kassekert, 2010). Also, employees want to feel comfortable in their jobs both from a proper training aspect and because it someplace that they enjoy going. Training may not be considered a part of total rewards thinking, but if an employee feels burdened by their job because they know they are undertrained for it, that person would definitely feel rewarded by an appropriate training program. Of course, the second part of the research is what this recommendation focuses on.
The jobsite does not feel like home (it is actually difficult to make this happen), but there should be elements of the job site that make the work environment comfortable. Employees, both men and women, thrive in an atmosphere that they find challenging but supportive (Ghazzawi, 2010). This can mean different things for both different age groups and genders (Ghazzawi, 2011), but it should not be difficult to accomplish.
There are many recommendations that can be made to enhance employee enjoyment of the workplace and productivity that can be counted as part of the total rewards program. Many companies have been able to go to a flexible schedule (Heneman, 2007) which allows employees to be at work when they feel that they are at their most productive. This means that, within reason, an employee can work a set amount of hours per week (usually the standard 40) without sticking to a strict schedule. Some companies ask that their employees work between a certain 12 to 15-hour time frame every day, while others let the employee decide when they will be at work. Of course, this does not work for every workplace, but such perks as on-premise childcare, nap rooms (usually employees are allowed to take an extended lunch during which they are free to use the room to rest and recuperate), and breaks in routine for engaging in sporting activities are some of the ways that a workplace can save employees time, reenergize them, or both. Making the place of employment more enjoyable for employees seems like the perfect way to engage and keep employees.
The primary reason that this works is that employees reason that their employer cares to make the day more enjoyable rather than insisting on the drudgery that can be work. By allowing employees to enjoy their jobs through small perks, and employer can actually have more productive employees. Of course this comes with managers and supervisors giving their employees kudos when they deserve them. This means rewards in front of peers so that everyone can enjoy the moment. This also motivates people to receive the visible reward. It does not matter what the reward is either. Research has shown that employee rewards can be a plaque, money or a pat on the back (Medcof, 2006). The fact that employee can obtain some recognition for a job well done is the actual reward people are looking for.
Research has proven that a total rewards package cannot be limited to…