Schedule a Free Consultation

All Cards on the Table: Using Total Rewards Statements to Become an Employer of Choice

candidates employees employer of choice hr recruitment retain retention total reward statements total rewards Mar 04, 2024

Pretend you’re at a job interview. You have a few lined up because you’re very good at what you do. The hiring manager silently writes a figure on a slip of paper and slides it to you from across the table, as if you're both in an old noir movie.

The paper simply reads: $70k 

You keep a stoic face, but inwardly you’re pleased. This is a higher offer than you had expected. You’re probably going to accept it. But there’s one more interview to go, and during it, the hiring manager hands you a detailed statement covering: 

  • $60k base pay 
  • PTO and holidays 
  • Health, dental, and life insurance 
  • 401(k) matching 
  • Career mentorship and growth plan 
  • Performance bonuses 
  • Wellness program  
  • Work from home or office 

Company A offers 10k more than Company B. And maybe they offer benefits too, but they neglected to highlight them. They don’t seem to think employee benefits are important. Whereas

Company B clearly shows how much they value you, if they’re willing to invest so much in you. What used to appeal to employees years ago no longer works in an era of high inflation and competition, with the power dynamic shifted to employees. But by highlighting the total value offered, Company A can avoid losing a top candidate to their competition. You can use the same strategy to get ahead of yours.

What are Total Rewards?

Total Rewards statements highlight how much a company is investing in their employees. Also known as the "hidden paycheck", it breaks down other types of compensation, benefits, and perks into a dollar amount so employees understand how much they are worth to the company — and in turn, how much the company is worth to them.

Total Rewards can be categorized into compensation, benefits, work-life balance, rewards & recognition, and career growth.

86% of employees paid above market believe they are paid at or below market. Total Rewards statements change that.

Why highlight Total Rewards?

While inflation remains high, and the War for Talent looms on, employers must offer incentives that go beyond base pay. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that more than 40% of employees would take a job with a lower salary for better benefits. Flexible work schedules alone are worth a 9% pay increase. By investing in high-value benefits, employers can attract candidates while still keeping costs low. Show off what your company offers any chance you get: on your website, social media, job postings, interviews, employment offers, and annual Total Rewards statements. When job postings include benefits, employers see a 22% higher apply rate than postings that don't mention benefits. For non-quantifiable rewards like remote work, wellness resources, and yes, even the foosball table, consider sharing testimonials that express employees' appreciation. This can make rewards normally seen as "soft" come alive within your company culture and values. You also present an organization that cares about its employees, improving brand reputation and legitimacy.

What do candidates want?

While trend reports can be a good indicator of which rewards to offer, try to personalize the Total Rewards statement to each candidate, highlighting rewards they value the most.

How do you find out what your candidates want? Ask during the initial screening or application. Chris Voss, author of Never Split the Difference, recommends using calibrated questions that acknowledge the person's needs and guide the conversation towards your desired outcome.

If you can ask candidates what they want (rather than telling them), and then produce a statement that says, hey, we value that too, you get the candidate on your side.

Next steps:

1. Analyze, evaluate, and optimize current offerings.

2. Build Total Rewards statements for each employee.

3. Create the rollout and communication plan.

4. Market Total Rewards through job postings, interviews, and offers. 

5. Measure the impact on application, hiring, and retention rates.

Key Takeaways

To counter competition, employers must offer incentives that go beyond base pay. Companies that market their Total Rewards will be better at attracting and securing candidates, and retaining employees. Tailor your Total Rewards statements based on what candidates and employees value most.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal, accounting, or tax advice and it should not be relied on as such. Contact your own legal, accounting, and/or tax advisors to obtain advice before engaging in any transaction. No one from should act or refrain from acting based solely on information provided by Megastar HR without first engaging their own legal, accounting, or tax advisors.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.