by Matt Alderton | April 12, 2017
In order to attract and retain the best employees, companies must offer the best incentives to engage and motivate them. Designing a successful benefits program can be challenging, however, without insight about what your competitors are offering. The human resources association WorldatWork has a new resource to give employers exactly that: the "Inventory of Total Rewards Programs and Practices" survey.

The survey is based on responses from 730 organizations, which were asked about more than 175 programs and practices that constitute WorldatWork's Total Rewards Model. The Total Rewards Model is an HR philosophy which states that companies seeking to attract, motivate, engage, and retain talent must offer "total rewards" encompassing six distinct programmatic areas: compensation, benefits, work-life effectiveness, recognition, performance management, and talent development.

"This is the most comprehensive prevalence survey that WorldatWork has ever done, and it provides a broad look at what total rewards programs are being offered today," said Alison Avalos, senior manager, research and certification, at WorldatWork.

Specifically, WorldatWork asked employers about offerings in the following categories: workplace flexibility, financial wellness, culture initiatives and community involvement, caring for dependents, development opportunities, recognition, performance management, long- and short-term incentives, bonuses and commissions, base pay, retirement, paid and unpaid time off, retirement, health and wellness, and other benefits and perquisites.

The survey found that some elements of total rewards programs have near universal use. Ninety-eight percent of organizations offer defined contribution plans, for instance, and 99 percent offer dental plans. Other elements of total rewards programs, meanwhile -- like student loan debt repayment, which only 4 percent of employers offer -- are ripe for growth.

"The current workplace landscape is competitive, and it is more important than ever for employers to develop total rewards packages that attract high-quality candidates and drive employee satisfaction and engagement," said Greg Wolf, managing principal at compensation consultancy Compdata, which conducted the survey in partnership with WorldatWork. "An understanding of current market trends is the baseline HR professionals need to develop the right combination of total rewards to satisfy their organizations' needs."

According to WorldatWork, "Inventory of Total Rewards Programs and Practices" will become an annual survey, allowing HR professionals to track longitudinal trends in total rewards program usage by industry, sector, and company size.