Work-Life Benefits Now Integral to Total Rewards Package

May 18, 2010 ( - A new survey of 741 multinational companies by WorldatWork and Mercer found that more than half of companies now consider work-life initiatives a staple of Total Rewards.

The majority (59%) of respondents to the State of Total Rewards Integration survey include work-life (flexible work schedules, extra vacation and sabbaticals) in addition to compensation (base salary, incentives and guaranteed payments) and benefits (retirement and medical) in their definition of Total Rewards. When asked what types of changes were made to workplace programs in the past 12 months, 40% said they enhanced or added wellness programs to the Total Rewards mix; 21% added flexible work arrangements, according to a Mercer news release.  

While many responding companies (43%) experienced a decline in overall revenue in the past 12 months, the majority maintained their investments in their Total Rewards programs but changed the allocations, the survey found. A large number trimmed merit budgets, some reduced the amount spent on health insurance, while others enhanced or added wellness benefits to their Total Rewards programs.  

The top business objectives for implementing a Total Rewards program are retaining high performers, enhancing the company’s financial performance, and attracting key talent, according to the survey results.  

“The past year has been financially difficult for organizations, and talent considerations have taken a back seat to cost considerations,” said Steve Gross, Senior Partner and Total Rewards Leader at Mercer, in the announcement. “Balancing no- or low-cost Total Rewards components such as work-life initiatives with pay and benefits is critical for retaining top performers, attracting new employees and enhancing the company’s financial performance.”   

The survey also found more than one-fourth (26%) of respondents report they have a truly integrated approach to Total Rewards, and nearly three-quarters (73%) use the term Total Rewards.  

The full survey report will be published in June.