The Evolving Employee Experience Through Total Rewards

Employee Benefits

The Evolving Employee Experience Through Total Rewards

Attracting, engaging and retaining talent comes with actual volatile costs. Through understanding the risks, you can shift your strategy to help mitigate them by developing, utilizing and communicating a relevant Total Rewards package. You can cultivate stronger company performance and help effectively use company funds while retaining talent by working collaboratively to enhance employees’ engagement and experience. 

The Cost of Disengagement

Disengagement is a growing problem. Employers should be wary of the impact disengaged employees have on overall costs and the culture of their company. Nearly half of all employees are somewhat disengaged, with their productivity levels around 70%. These are the workers who punch in and out, spend a lot of their time distracted and are potentially disruptive to the work environment. Gallup states that 10-15% of employees are actively disengaged, doubting their purpose at their organization and speaking ill of their mission, contributing only half of their time to being productive. According to the findings, these actively disengaged workers equate to half a trillion dollars in losses.  

How do you turn disengaged workers into engaged workers instead of losing them to the opposite end of the spectrum? Listen to them. Engage in surveys and focus groups to gain insights on how you can improve their experience. Seek to understand their needs and create initiatives to fill those needs where you are able. If the issue of disengaged workers goes unaddressed, this could drive out your engaged workforce due to a toxic work environment fueled by unmotivated employees.  

Shifting Turnover into Conversation

Depending on the position level, the cost of turnover can range from six months to two years’ worth of salary. This number comprises the cost of hiring, onboarding, lost productivity and institutional knowledge, training, beginner error, along with a shifting cultural impact. If you do not have a process for this yet, begin tracking and reporting turnover costs and conduct stay and exit interviews. These actions can create a productive feedback environment that encourages effort on both sides to help improve the environment.  

Hiring the most qualified talent and investing in retaining them can quickly pay for itself. Often, with adequate compensation and benefits, employees are willing to stay. 

Why do employees leave?

Fifty percent of employees leave due to issues with their management. The transition from individual contributor to manager requires a different skill set, and many managers are promoted before they are trained and ready to lead. Providing employees with leadership training before elevating them sets the leader and their team up for success.  

This preparedness helps mitigate the second biggest cause of why employees leave: too much workload. When you have a team of great workers, you can feel inclined to assign them more projects. To you, giving them more responsibility for quality performance may seem like a reward, but this could feel like a punishment to an overworked employee. Always bear in mind what goes into managing goal setting and task distribution. When a manager knows how to manage and listen to their team more effectively, employees are less likely to be given more than they can handle.  

The third reason employees leave is lack of recognition, with 82% of workers pointing to this as a reason for considering leaving their current organization. Recognition could come in the form of pay raises, promotions, vacation time or even simple words of affirmation. If your employees feel their hard work goes unnoticed, they may begin looking for an organization that makes them feel appreciated. 

While compensation and benefits are important, including culture, management training, communication and recognition programs in your Total Rewards package brings a holistic view to the employee experience. 

How Total Rewards Can Combat Turnover

Total Rewards encompass everything you offer your employees in exchange for the skillset they bring to your organization. Total Rewards go beyond the foundational pieces of compensation and employee benefits.  

Talent is your most considerable expense, so it inherently becomes a risk. To help mitigate this risk, it is essential to look at the big picture of Total Rewards offerings. Find what serves you and your employees, enhances the employee experience and limits unhealthy turnover. 

Total Rewards evolve the conversation about compensation. When discussing compensation, it is not solely about base pay. Are your incentive plans driving the correct behavior? How does your organization address the notion of pay inequity and compliance? How are you making sure you are delivering on all elements regarding compensation?  

Use your compensation structure to get to know your employees and compare yourself to the market. Many companies lose sight of market competitiveness for long-term employees. Use analytics to identify inequities and jumpstart productive conversations to help ensure your employees earn what they deserve. 

Total Rewards also influence the approach to employee benefits. Employee benefits go beyond health care. Determine what the most important elements are to your employees, such as time off, sabbaticals, retirement and health and wellness strategies. While the economy fluctuates and impacts your costs year-to-year, review the Total Rewards you offer and align them to what your employees value. Use your vendors and consultants to tailor your offerings to your unique needs. 


Considerations for expanding the approach to employee benefits: 

  • Work from home 
  • Connection and relationships 
  • Work-life balance 
  • Environmental consciousness 
  • Mental health wellness 
  • Financial wellness 
  • Minimum wages 
  • Housing and rental markets 
  • Traffic and commute 
  • COVID-19 and vaccinations 


Total Rewards can help you build your organization’s culture, which gets employees excited about coming to work.  

How to develop your own Total Rewards strategy:

Diagnostics: Understand vision, values, culture, strategy and desired offerings through leadership, management and employees.

Recommend: Combine what you learn and what you know to deliver a long-term roadmap of offerings that help attract, engage and retain the right talent for your organization.

Execute: Execute your roadmap through various projects and share results to determine a plan of adoption. Create your Total Rewards Philosophy.

Implement: Do not underestimate the time and attention it takes to deliver strong communication, implementation, adoption and sustainability of your offerings.

Contact your local Brown & Brown representative about how your organization can develop a Total Rewards strategy. 

by Rebecca Shipley

Total Rewards Practice Leader