Total Rewards: Are You Flying Blind?

A recent Willis Towers survey describes the many changes that companies are making to their Total Rewards packages to compete for high-performing employees in a tight labor market. A couple of statistics about employer practices really stun:

  • 51% do not know what their employees value
  • 53% do not know what job candidates value

This is the kind of data that gives the HR profession a black eye.

Over half of employers are spending huge sums of money on benefits and don’t even know if the intended beneficiaries (employees) even care about them!

If data is not being used to choose and align benefits offerings, how are decisions being made? Likely it is done by simple rote behavior (repeat what was done last year) and an eye for cost control. Whatever is behind this lack of informed decision making, it is clearly unacceptable assuming Total Rewards are seen as a strategic use of resources to align benefits with organizational objectives (e.g. competing for talented people to improve business performance).

Looking ahead to future Total Rewards planning, here are some simple methods for any employer to gather data about what is valued and to stop flying blind:


  • Survey employees to identify needs and satisfaction levels
  • Interview exiting employees for feedback about rewards
  • Conduct stay interviews of high-performing staff to identify what they value


  • Solicit feedback during interviews
  • Post-hire surveys
  • Survey applicants who decline offers
  • Survey selected high-potential applicants about what they value

Employers Council members are urged to take advantage of resources including:

  • Survey data on marketplace practices
  • Benefits consultants to discuss trends, share expertise and best practices
  • Employee survey and assessments tools and guidance

Contact Employers Council today to discuss your Total Rewards goals.