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  • Writer's pictureWellness Workdays

Workplace Wellness: Total Rewards 101

In times like the present, with the pandemic and the Great Resignation, workers want to feel like their time and efforts are valued. Total Rewards is a Human Resources (HR) strategy that targets those sentiments1. It can include adding coveted benefits such as health and dental insurance, telemedicine, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), a wellness program, flex time, PTO, individual recognition of performance (like awards or bonuses), an on-site fitness center, leadership coaching, fundraising for charity, and more2.

Total rewards is not only an investment in worker engagement and motivation, but also in competitive worker acquisition and retention3. Organizations may also use Total Rewards to outperform competitors, motivate employee performance, and recognize and incentivize their employees4. Corporate Wellness Magazine estimates that the cost of absenteeism, health care expenses, and lost productivity totals around 23.8 billion dollars per year. Total Rewards is an effective strategy to overcome the financial burden, curtail the Great Resignation, and stay/get ahead your competitors2.

Competitive wages are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Total Rewards offerings. Total Rewards is a holistic way of providing offerings that employees perceive to add value to the overall benefit package2,5. But that isn’t to say that your company should offer your employees just any benefit; your company’s selected offerings should target your employees and overall company culture. For example, offerings will differ for a goal of attracting new talent (like student debt repayment or tuition reimbursement), versus retaining more senior workers (like flexible schedules or competitive health insurance). The sky is the limit, but there are a few offerings, particularly well-being offerings, that can target multiple segments of your population and boost overall employee health and engagement.

Proven approaches such as one-on-one health coaching, participation-based incentives, and health risk assessments should be a main focus of an employee wellness program. An increase in employee overall health is linked to increased productivity—both by reducing lost time due to sick days and presenteeism as well as improved job performance and job satisfaction. In turn, heightened job satisfaction can lead to increases in worker retention and job attractiveness to potential employees in a competitive job market6,7. It's a win-win situation; everyone benefits with Total Rewards.

Contact us to learn more about what Wellness Workdays has to offer for your Total Rewards strategy.


  1. Reach Insurance Brokers. (2021, January 6). Total rewards and wellness. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from

  2. Dix, M. (n.d.). How total rewards programs can help fight against toxic cultures. Worksite Wellness. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from

  3. O'Hanlon, M. (2020, August 13). A true total rewards philosophy is more important than ever. WorldSpan Magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from

  4. Indeed. (2021, March 23). What is a total rewards strategy? Indeed Career Guide. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from

  5. Miller, S. (2018, May 31). How total rewards can drive performance management success. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved June 14, 2022, from

  6. Edington, D. W., & Pitts, J. (2016). Shared values, shared results. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edington Associates.

  7. Ott-Holland, C. J., Shepherd, W. J., & Ryan, A. M. (2017, September 4). Examining Wellness Programs Over Time: Predicting Participation and Workplace Outcomes. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Advance online publication.


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