HR Topics: The Total Rewards Approach

By John Kobeslice

When most people think of compensation, the first thing that usually comes to mind is money. There is no denying that pay is very important. However, a recent Gallup nationwide survey identified that only three out of every ten American workers are fully engaged and inspired by their jobs. Would this low rate of job satisfaction dramatically improve by raising pay? Not necessarily.

If a person is not earning a sustainable wage that keeps up with life’s essential expenses, then there is an urgent problem. Likewise, if any of us were unsure of when we would be paid next, work would likely halt. Assuming these two factors are accounted for what does the concept of money mean to an employee?

Historically, when companies conduct employee satisfaction surveys, pay is consistently cited as one of the top elements employees look for on the job. However, pay is usually identified along with of a variety of other valued workplace elements such as, benefits, developmental opportunities and meaningful relationships. Taken together, all of these elements, including pay, are referred to by many organizations as Total Rewards.

In actuality, people are rewarded and motivated by the complete picture of what their job gives back to them, not simply their paycheck. Flexible time off and competitive benefit options may be more valuable to an employee than just the money. There is tangible value in Valencia’s benefits, such as paid leave, health insurance, retirement plans and wellness programs. These types of rewards are investments made by an employer in its employees and culture.

One interesting aspect of the Total Rewards perspective means that you, as the supervisor, play an important role in compensating your staff. Human resources professionals at The Great Place to Work Institute, which provides insight for Fortune 100’s “Best Places to Work” list every year, identify trust, pride, and camaraderie as primary elements that differentiate great workplaces. These elements must be supported in the supervisor-employee relationship. Regardless of how much we pay an employee in dollars, if those key elements are not present in the workplace, an employee is unlikely to feel compensated. Pay, when combined with these three elements, however, is a key driver of engagement, productivity and overall well-being in the workplace.

Awareness of what your employees uniquely value about working at Valencia is critical to being an effective supervisor. In the coming months, the compensation team will be working to develop strategies to help supervisors identify and express Valencia’s Total Rewards to their employees. In the meantime, set aside some time to have conversations with your employees about what makes them feel that they have trust, pride and camaraderie at Valencia every day.

If you have questions about the Total Rewards approach please contact John Kobe, manager of compensation and classification, at or extension 8010  or Tamaira Smith, coordinator of compensation, at or extension 8003.

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