Total Rewards

Quarter Academic Credit

Total Rewards is the overall compensation package an employer offers to employees in return for their contributions to the organization. It includes cash compensation of base pay and may have additional components such as company equity, incentive or variable pay such as bonuses and commissions; health and welfare benefits, retirement, perquisites, paid time off and fringe benefits.

In this class students will examine total rewards systems. Students will learn how to develop and evaluate employee compensation systems that meet the needs of the employees and align with the business strategy. Emphasis is given to understanding strategic compensation as a component of a human resource system, developing pay programs (i.e. base pay, incentive pay, merit pay vs. seniority), designing compensation structures (utilizing job analysis, building a compensation philosophy and leveraging survey benchmarking), understanding incentive plans, an overview of discretionary vs. legally required benefits, and contemporary compensation challenges.

This course covers the fundamentals and strategic management of employee benefits including core health and ancillary benefits such as life, dental, vision, employee assistance, disability and medical insurance plans. Primary topics include the changes to group healthcare necessitated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requirements, mandated benefits, and the regulatory and tax treatment of benefit programs.

The class also addresses wellness programs, methods for funding employee benefits, consumer-driven healthcare, contribution strategies, and the overall best practices for human resources to evaluate in managing benefits and the cost containment of benefit programs.

  • Examine the history and evolution of employee benefits in a changing economy and evaluate the laws that govern employee benefits.
  • Evaluate how effective benefit plans impact recruiting and retention of good employees, and analyze key factors that influence benefit choices.
  • Examine and assess employee total rewards systems.
  • Formulate a combination of specific components to make a comprehensive employee benefit program, including retirement plans, healthcare products, life and disability plans, family centered benefits, cost share modeling and explore best practices for benefit program administration.
  • Develop, implement or enhance an employee compensation system to meet strategic business requirements and the needs of the unique workforce.
  • Evaluate the costs of a compensation system, perform a competitive market analysis, develop a pay program (both base pay and incentive pay) that aligns with the organization's culture and ensure the pay program is legally compliant.
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