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Total Rewards: The Competitive Edge Employers Need to Attract and Retain Talent

The Great Resignation is here. In November of 2021, employees quit jobs at the highest rate in 20 years, leaving employers scrambling to fill roles and manage high turnover. According to PEW Research, the top three reasons for this flight were low pay (63%), lack of advancement opportunities (63%), and workers felt disrespected (57%). Next, employees cited childcare issues, inflexible work hours, and poor benefits. While some of these criteria have always contributed to employee turnover, what caused such a massive shift? 

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how employees think about work–and left them wanting more than a paycheck. They want holistic roles that meet the needs of their whole selves, and employers are stepping up. According to MetLife’s 20th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study 2022, 80% of employers say that meeting the needs of employees across all life stages and the diversity spectrum is an important business objective. Now, companies are revisiting or adding Total Rewards strategies to remain competitive in the fight to attract and retain talent. 

What is a Total Rewards program?

Total Rewards programs go beyond traditional benefits to address what’s important to employees during these changing times. Designed to improve the overall employee experience, Total Rewards takes a more holistic approach to include diversity, inclusion, compensation, mental health and wellbeing, as well as traditional benefits. A Total Rewards program is about encompassing company values into an overall employee compensation package. In today’s market, this type of comprehensive, employee-experience driven compensation is critical to attracting and retaining team members. 

What can employers do now?

According to Gartner, 90% of Total Rewards leaders do not feel they have the structure, and skills to support the organization through the rapid changes organizations are experiencing. Total Rewards programs are not static, and leaders must continually restructure the Total Rewards operating model to drive success across the organization–and this requires constant benchmarking. However, benchmarking goes far beyond just data. While industry and overarching data are certainly important, every company has a unique culture and teams with different needs. 

In addition to standard benchmarking, companies should be asking key questions, such as: How do compensation packages, benefits, and perks stack up, especially in light of inflation and stock market swings? What are the company values and how can those be expressed through a Total Rewards program? What will make employees want to work here and what will make them stay? 

At Newfront, our teams provide strategic guidance to ensure each stakeholder is heard–and that the end result is a Total Rewards package that’s sustainable and right for your company.

For more information on our holistic approach, contact your Newfront advisor. 


Andrea Trudeau

About the author

Andrea Trudeau

EVP, Founding Principal

Andrea is an Executive Vice President and Founding Member of Newfront. Prior to joining Newfront, Andrea was the founder of Advanced Professionals, a successful boutique employee benefits consulting firm.


The information provided is of a general nature and an educational resource. It is not intended to provide advice or address the situation of any particular individual or entity. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. Newfront shall have no liability for the information provided. While care has been taken to produce this document, Newfront does not warrant, represent or guarantee the completeness, accuracy, adequacy, or fitness with respect to the information contained in this document. The information provided does not reflect new circumstances, or additional regulatory and legal changes. The issues addressed may have legal, financial, and health implications, and we recommend you speak to your legal, financial, and health advisors before acting on any of the information provided.

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