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The Empuls Glossary

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Total Compensation

Total Compensation refers to the complete package of rewards and benefits provided by an employer to an employee in exchange for their work and services. It encompasses not only the employee's base salary or wages but also various additional elements such as bonuses, incentives, benefits, and perks.

What is total compensation?

Total compensation refers to the complete package of rewards and benefits that an employee receives from their employer in exchange for their work and services. It encompasses not only the employee's base salary or wages but also various additional elements such as bonuses, incentives, benefits, and perks. Total compensation aims to provide a comprehensive and competitive package that reflects the employee's overall value to the organization and helps attract, retain, and motivate talent.

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What do you include in Total Compensation?

Components of total compensation may vary depending on the organization, industry, and individual employee's role, but typically include:

  • Base salary: The fixed amount of money paid to an employee on a regular basis, usually in the form of hourly wages or an annual salary.
  • Bonuses and incentives: Additional payments or rewards given to employees based on their performance, achievements, or meeting specific goals or targets.
  • Benefits: Non-wage forms of compensation provided to employees, such as health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, retirement plans (e.g., 401(k)), pension plans, and other fringe benefits like paid time off (e.g., vacation days, sick leave), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or commuter benefits.
  • Stock options and equity grants: Ownership stakes or rights to purchase company stock at a predetermined price, often used as incentives to align employees' interests with those of the organization and to reward long-term commitment and performance.
  • Commissions: Additional compensation paid to employees in sales or revenue-generating roles based on the volume or value of sales they generate.
  • Profit sharing: Sharing of company profits with employees, typically through distribution of a percentage of the company's profits to eligible employees.
  • Recognition and rewards: Non-monetary forms of recognition and rewards, such as employee appreciation programs, employee of the month awards, or other forms of acknowledgment for outstanding performance or contributions.
  • Training and development opportunities: Investment in employees' professional development through training programs, tuition reimbursement, mentorship, or career advancement opportunities.

What are the benefits of Total Compensation?

The benefits of total compensation are:

  • Attract and retain talent: A comprehensive total compensation package can help attract top talent to the organization and retain valuable employees by offering competitive salaries, benefits, and incentives.
  • Motivate and engage employees: Total compensation that includes performance-based incentives and rewards can motivate employees to perform at their best and contribute to the organization's success. It fosters a sense of ownership and alignment with organizational goals.
  • Enhance employee satisfaction: Providing a wide range of benefits and perks as part of total compensation can enhance employee satisfaction, well-being, and work-life balance, leading to higher morale and productivity.
  • Support financial security: Comprehensive benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and other financial incentives contribute to employees' financial security and stability, reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction.
  • Promote equity and fairness: A transparent and equitable total compensation package ensures that employees are fairly compensated for their contributions, promoting a positive organizational culture and reducing turnover.
  • Align with organizational objectives: Total compensation packages can be structured to align with organizational objectives, values, and performance metrics, reinforcing desired behaviors and outcomes.

What is an example of a total compensation package?

An example of a total compensation package for an employee might include:

  • Base salary: $60,000 per year
  • Annual performance Bonus: Up to 10% of base salary ($6,000)
  • Health insurance: Employer-sponsored health insurance plan covering medical, dental, and vision for employee and dependents
  • Retirement plan: 401(k) plan with employer matching contributions up to 5% of employee's salary
  • Paid time Off: 15 vacation days, 10 sick days, and 10 holidays per year
  • Stock Options: Annual grant of company stock options with a vesting period of four years
  • Employee assistance Program: Access to counseling, financial planning services, and other employee assistance resources
  • Tuition reimbursement: Up to $5,000 per year for eligible education expenses
  • Commuter benefits: Pre-tax commuter benefits for public transportation or parking expenses
  • Wellness program: Subsidized gym membership or wellness incentives for participating in health-related activities.

This comprehensive total compensation package provides a mix of monetary and non-monetary benefits designed to attract, retain, and motivate employees while supporting their financial security, health, and well-being.

How to calculate total compensation?

Calculating total compensation involves aggregating all the components of an employee's compensation package, including both monetary and non-monetary benefits. Here's a general framework for calculating total compensation:

  1. Base salary or wages: Start with the employee's base salary or hourly wages. This is the amount paid to the employee for their regular work hours.
  1. Bonuses and incentives: Add any bonuses or incentive payments received by the employee, such as performance bonuses, signing bonuses, or sales commissions.
  1. Overtime pay: If applicable, include any overtime pay earned by the employee for hours worked beyond their regular work hours at a premium rate.
  1. Benefits
    • Health insurance: Include the employer's contribution towards health insurance premiums, as well as any additional health-related benefits such as dental, vision, or mental health coverage.
    • Retirement plans: Add contributions made by the employer to the employee's retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or pension plan.
    • Paid time off: Calculate the value of paid time off benefits, including vacation days, sick leave, and holidays.
    • Other benefits: Include the value of other benefits provided by the employer, such as life insurance, disability insurance, tuition reimbursement, or commuter benefits.
  2. Stock options or equity: If applicable, include the value of any stock options, equity grants, or other forms of equity-based compensation provided to the employee.
  1. Perks and allowances: Factor in the value of any additional perks or allowances provided by the employer, such as company cars, gym memberships, mobile phone allowances, or meal stipends.
  1. Training and development: Consider any investment made by the employer in the employee's training and development, such as tuition reimbursement, professional development courses, or conference attendance fees.
  1. Employee discounts: If the employer offers discounts on products or services, include the value of these discounts as part of the employee's total compensation.
  1. Calculate total compensation: Sum up all the components mentioned above to arrive at the employee's total compensation for a specific period, such as annually or monthly.

How to create a total compensation statement?

Creating a total compensation statement involves compiling and communicating all the components of an employee's compensation package in a clear and comprehensive manner. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create a total compensation statement:

  • Gather information: Collect detailed information on all components of the employee's compensation, including base salary or wages, bonuses, benefits, perks, and any other forms of compensation provided by the employer.
  • Organize components: Categorize the various components of compensation into relevant groups, such as monetary benefits (e.g., salary, bonuses) and non-monetary benefits (e.g., health insurance, retirement plans, perks).
  • Calculate values: Determine the value of each component of compensation. For monetary benefits, this may involve straightforward calculations based on the employee's salary or bonus structure. For non-monetary benefits, such as health insurance or retirement contributions, calculate the employer's contribution or the value of the benefit provided to the employee.
  • Provide context: Explain each component of compensation and its significance to the employee. For example, describe the employer's contribution to health insurance premiums or the value of retirement plan matching contributions. Provide information on eligibility criteria, coverage levels, and any limitations or restrictions associated with each benefit.
  • Create a summary: Develop a summary section that highlights the total value of the employee's compensation package. Sum up the values of all components, including both monetary and non-monetary benefits, to provide a comprehensive total compensation figure.
  • Format the statement: Design a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format for the total compensation statement. Use tables, charts, or graphics to present information clearly and concisely. Ensure that the layout is user-friendly and that important information is prominently displayed.
  • Include additional information: Consider including additional information or resources to support the total compensation statement. This may include explanations of benefit programs, links to relevant company policies or resources, or contact information for HR representatives who can provide further assistance or clarification.
  • Review and finalize: Thoroughly review the total compensation statement to ensure accuracy, completeness, and consistency. Verify all calculations and double-check the information presented. Solicit feedback from HR professionals or other stakeholders to ensure the statement effectively communicates the employee's compensation package.
  • Distribute the statement: Once finalized, distribute the total compensation statement to employees. This may involve sending printed copies via mail or email, posting the statement on the company intranet or employee portal, or presenting it in-person during individual meetings or company-wide presentations.

Employee pulse surveys:

These are short surveys that can be sent frequently to check what your employees think about an issue quickly. The survey comprises fewer questions (not more than 10) to get the information quickly. These can be administered at regular intervals (monthly/weekly/quarterly).

One-on-one meetings:

Having periodic, hour-long meetings for an informal chat with every team member is an excellent way to get a true sense of what’s happening with them. Since it is a safe and private conversation, it helps you get better details about an issue.


eNPS (employee Net Promoter score) is one of the simplest yet effective ways to assess your employee's opinion of your company. It includes one intriguing question that gauges loyalty. An example of eNPS questions include: How likely are you to recommend our company to others? Employees respond to the eNPS survey on a scale of 1-10, where 10 denotes they are ‘highly likely’ to recommend the company and 1 signifies they are ‘highly unlikely’ to recommend it.

Based on the responses, employees can be placed in three different categories:

  • Promoters
    Employees who have responded positively or agreed.
  • Detractors
    Employees who have reacted negatively or disagreed.
  • Passives
    Employees who have stayed neutral with their responses.

How do total job benefits and total employee compensation differ?

Total job benefits and total employee compensation are related concepts but differ in scope and focus:

1. Total job benefits

  • Total job benefits refer to the sum of all the non-monetary perks and advantages associated with a particular job or position.
  • These benefits include various amenities, facilities, and services provided by the employer to enhance the overall work experience and quality of life for employees.
  • Examples of job benefits may include flexible work hours, telecommuting options, on-site childcare facilities, employee wellness programs, employee discounts, and opportunities for professional development and advancement.
  • Total job benefits focus primarily on the additional offerings and conveniences that contribute to employee satisfaction, engagement, and well-being within the workplace.

2. Total employee compensation

  • Total employee compensation encompasses the complete package of rewards and benefits provided by an employer to an employee in exchange for their work and services.
  • This includes both monetary and non-monetary components, such as base salary or wages, bonuses, incentives, benefits, and perks.
  • In addition to job benefits, total employee compensation includes direct financial rewards like salary, commissions, and bonuses, as well as indirect benefits like health insurance, retirement contributions, paid time off, and other forms of employee assistance.
  • Total employee compensation provides a comprehensive view of the financial and non-financial value that employees receive from their employment relationship with the organization.

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