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The Total Rewards System Research Paper


Compensation system in an organization is very important because it helps organizations improve their performance through increased employee output. Total reward programs are systems set in place by the management of an organization with the main aim of rewarding employees for their efforts and excellence in their work.

The compensation system may involve things that address the needs of employees hence boosting their morale such as recital and gratitude, work life balance and chances for professionalism within the organization (Kaplan, 2007). Successful implementation of a reward system in an organization should result in improved performance of employees hence the firm while reducing operating costs. This study examines total reward programs as applied in organization in different industries (Durfey, 2002).

The Total Rewards System employed in the Publix

The Publix supermarket is among the largest private retail enterprises in the U.S. Having its’ headquarters in Florida, the supermarket has more than 1000 branches operating in different parts in U.S. with an average of 130 associates creating many employment opportunities. In recognition of the importance of total rewards in value creation to a firm, the supermarket has designed a number of the total rewards elements to benefit its employees. The consequent actions have seen the supermarket perform better than other firms have.

Among the designed elements are flexible schedules provided to part-timers in order to accommodate for their academic studies and family responsibilities, opportunities to transfer into other positions of the company such as manufacturing, distribution and corporate offices.

Other fundamental benefits available at Publix include an opportunity to purchase additional shares of its privately held stock, annual holiday cash bonus and weekly payment for hourly associates. In addition, the company provides a 401(k) retirement savings plan with a company match, group health plan, credit union, tuition reimbursement and training opportunities. Employees working close to the cafeteria have the opportunity of eating free while full time employees have six paid holidays.

Similar to other firms, development of these total rewards have befitted as well as disadvantaged both Publix and its employees. First, it provides employers with flexibility since it allows awards to be mixed and remixed to meet the different emotional and motivational needs of employees (Durfey, 2002).

This has further helped companies in allowing employees to determine when they work, where they work and how they work. In particular, total rewards, policies recognize that employees would wish to have the ability to integrate their lifestyle and their work.

Secondly, total rewards strategy enhances improved recruitment and retention since it is a critical aspect in addressing the issues created by recruitment and retention. It can help create a work experience that meets the needs of employees and encourage them to contribute extra efforts that address a number of issues in the firm such as low performance. In addition, they total rewards programs encourage the firm to spend reward dollars where they are most effective in addressing workers’ shifting values.

Many studies have also shown that employees would always look at the total rewards package when deciding whether to join or to stay with an organization. Thirdly, it reduces labor costs or the cost of employee turnover. Majorly, these costs are not noticeable within an organization. The costs include loss of customers; reduced sales as well as decreased efficiencies as productive employees leave and the remaining employees are distracted from their activities (Parbudyal, 2002).

In spite of this approach having advantages, it also suffers from a number of setbacks. Primarily, it is the high cost of offering high levels of benefits that affects firms. The numerous benefits available to Publix employees would cost the company a lot of money. In addition, the company may realize wastage of resources if the whole package will not be appreciated or used by some workers. If again the total return is not designed well, it may result to discouragement of employees rather than motivating them.

Therefore, Publix has to restructure its total returns by dropping the numerous less sensitive benefits because they raise the cost of operations and focus on the main aspects that negatively affect the good performance of the company. This will minimize costs as well as increasing level of performance.

In general, well-designed packages of total rewards should be embraced by all companies since they motivate employees to perform better than they would in the absence of the packages. This leads to the average good performance of the companies (Kaplan, 2007).


Durfey, K. (2002). Aligning Employees to Organizational Objectives, Solutions, 15(3), 26-28

Kaplan, S. (2007). Business Strategy, People Strategy and Total Rewards. Benefits and compensation Digest, 44(9), 13-19.

Parbudyal, S. (2002). Strategic Reward Systems at Southwest Airlines, Compensation & Benefits Review, 5(1), 28-33

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