Total Rewards


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.
Academic Units
Section Number
Instruction Method
Online class

Association Credits

HR Certification Institute (HRCI)
30.00 Hours

Section Notes

This is an online course with live class sessions over Zoom every Tuesday evening at 6pm-9pm (PT) from September 17, 2024- November 19, 2024. The final day of the course is November 25, 2024.

Please check your computer readiness for Zoom by conducting a Test Meeting at A strong internet connection and head phones with microphone are required.
Students will receive an email with login information to access the course one business day before the first day of class.

Certificate Students: Students must earn a grade of C or higher (not a C minus) in order for this course to count towards the requirements for the certificate. A "C-" will not count as a passing grade for the purpose of the certificate. Coursework towards the certificate must be completed within five years.

Enrollment Policies

Refund deadline: 10/1/2024. Refunds and/or enrollment transfers (minus a $30 processing fee) will not be approved after this date. Click here or visit to view complete enrollment policy information including details on withdrawals and transfers.


Technical Requirements

This is an online course with live sessions via Zoom. Technology is used to facilitate online activities, assess students (assignments, exams, etc.), or deliver content. You will receive an email on the course start date with information on how to log into the online class portal. If you have not received your login information in the time frame indicated, please visit: our website for additional information on how to obtain access to your course. Students must have a computer with access to the internet and an email account in order to complete this course. Also, students must test their computer's ability to use Zoom PRIOR to the first class at To ensure your success in this online course, please review our technical requirements.

Section Course Materials

Strategic Compensation, A Human Resource Management Approach

Martocchio, J. J.



Members can receive 10% discount on the course fee by entering the Coupon Code.  If you don’t have your association discount code, contact UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Student Services at (800) 752-0881.


Members can receive 10% discount on the course fee by entering the Coupon Code.  If you don’t have your association discount code, contact UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Student Services at (800) 752-0881.

Early Enroll Discount

Enroll 14 days before the course start date to save $50 on the course fee.

Info Session Discount

Attendees of UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Information Sessions may be eligible for $100 discount on a class by entering the Coupon Code provided at the Information Session.  Contact UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Student Services office, at (800) 752-0881, if you have questions about this discount.