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Employee Recognition

5 Types of Compensation Beyond Salary


In the dynamic landscape of modern workplaces, it’s clear that compensation for employees extends far beyond the realm of a traditional salary. Today, organizations recognize the importance of offering a diverse range of compensation options to attract and retain top talent. Given that 85% of workers said compensation was important or very important to their job satisfaction, finding various attractive options is imperative to talent retention and attraction. While a base salary remains a cornerstone, there are several other compensation avenues to explore, each catering to different employee preferences and roles within the company. 

types of compensation

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of compensation beyond salary. We’ll not only explore these compensation types but also provide a detailed roadmap for crafting an ideal compensation strategy that aligns with your workforce’s needs and your company’s objectives. Whether you’re a startup looking to maximize resources or an established corporation aiming to elevate your talent retention game, this comprehensive guide will help you navigate the intricacies of modern compensation practices and ensure that your employees feel valued and motivated to contribute to your organization’s growth.

Types of Compensation

When an employee begins their contract with an organization, they may find that there are several types of compensation that will become available to them during the course of their employment. Although many companies offer their employees a base salary when their contracts begin, there are other types of compensation plans that exist within smaller business infrastructures. In order to boost employee morale and ensure retention, it’s important to offer attractive compensation to employees – especially to new hires. The main types of compensation for your employees include:

  • Salary
  • Salary & commission
  • Hourly compensation
  • Bonuses
  • Total compensation

As a business owner, it’s important to offer a compensation plan that is reasonable and enticing to your employees. This will motivate your employees to stay and work hard for your company – all while maintaining the values, goals, and growth that you desire to see in your organization. 

types of compensation

When an employee decides to become a part of your team, they need to know that they are being fairly compensated based on their experience, workload, and educational background. Let these things be your guide as you decide upon the best model of the following types of employee compensation.

1. Salary compensation

This form of compensation is typically offered to employees as a base pay, straight annual sum, without the stipulation of overtime. There is a general agreement that employees work a typical 40 hour work week while receiving more compensation than they would with an hourly rate.  Salary compensation is also typically most attractive to employees who want to have the potential benefit of working either in-house or remotely, depending upon the agreement detailed in their employment contract. 

2. Salary & commission compensation

If an employee enjoys the challenge of having their individual contributions reflect upon their compensation package, they may benefit from a salary plus commission model. This means that the employee would receive an additional commission on top of their already allocated annual salary. This type of compensation is particularly motivating for employees in sales.

3. Hourly compensation

Although some employees prefer a salary or base compensation, hourly compensation can be advantageous for employees who work overtime (i.e. over 40 hours in one week, or more than eight hours in one day). This form of employee compensation is typically for entry-level employees or lower paying positions within your company, and may begin at minimum wage.

4. Bonuses

Many businesses like to offer indirect compensation and incentives to employees in order to facilitate a happier, more productive work environment. These incentives can include holiday bonuses, hiring bonuses, and profit sharing plans, among others. In addition to these bonuses, some businesses may offer fringe benefits to their valued employees, such as health insurance, meal discounts, or even a company car.

5. Total compensation

Often the most attractive to new hires, total compensation offers a base salary, plus benefits and bonuses. A benefits package that covers a percentage of employees’ medical and dental bills, as well as any additional health benefits, such as physiotherapy, is typically offered as total compensation. Additional bonuses may include paid vacation, sick days, and access to EAP services.

Crafting the Ideal Compensation Strategy

Selecting the most effective compensation strategy for your employees requires a well-thought-out approach that takes into account both their needs and your business’s financial health. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a compensation strategy that resonates with your workforce and aligns with your company’s goals:

1. Understand Employee Preferences:

Begin by gathering insights into what your employees value most in their compensation package. Conduct employee surveys, one-on-one discussions, or focus groups to understand their financial goals, career aspirations, and expectations. Some employees might prioritize job stability, while others might seek performance-based rewards or comprehensive benefits.

types of compensation

2. Define Your Business’s Compensation Philosophy:

Craft a clear and comprehensive compensation philosophy that outlines your organization’s approach to rewarding employees. This philosophy should reflect your company’s values, market competitiveness, and long-term growth objectives. Consider whether your focus will be on competitive salaries, performance-based incentives, or a mix of both.

3. Analyze Market Data:

Conduct thorough research on industry benchmarks, salary surveys, and compensation trends within your sector. This will help you gauge whether your compensation offerings are competitive and attractive to potential hires. It also ensures that you’re not overpaying or underpaying employees in comparison to market standards.

4. Tailor Compensation Packages:

Based on the insights gained from employee preferences and market analysis, customize your compensation packages. Consider offering a variety of options such as salary, bonuses, commissions, benefits, and other perks. The goal is to provide a balanced mix that appeals to different employee demographics within your organization.Tailoring to employee needs is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to employee satisfaction and wellbeing. 

5. Implement a Performance-Driven Model:

Incorporate performance-based incentives to motivate employees to go above and beyond. Create clear and measurable performance metrics tied to these incentives. Ensure that the criteria are transparent and achievable, promoting a sense of fairness and healthy competition.

6. Offer Comprehensive Benefits:

A strong benefits package can greatly enhance your compensation strategy. Include healthcare coverage, retirement plans, paid time off, flexible work arrangements, and professional development opportunities. A comprehensive benefits package demonstrates your commitment to employee well-being and work-life balance.

7. Communication and Transparency:

Transparently communicate your compensation strategy to employees. This includes explaining the rationale behind your compensation decisions, the structure of various compensation components, and the potential for growth within the organization. This fosters trust and understanding among employees.

8. Regularly Review and Adjust:

Compensation is not a one-time decision. As your business evolves and market conditions change, regularly review and adjust your compensation strategy. Monitor its effectiveness in attracting and retaining talent, and be prepared to make necessary modifications to stay competitive.

9. Provide Room for Negotiation:

Allow for individual negotiations when appropriate. Some employees might have unique circumstances that warrant tailored compensation arrangements. Being open to negotiation shows that you value their contributions and are willing to accommodate their needs.

types of compensation

10. Seek Professional Guidance:

Creating a comprehensive compensation strategy can be complex, especially if you’re navigating regulatory requirements and intricate benefit structures. Consider seeking the expertise of HR professionals or compensation consultants who can provide valuable insights and ensure compliance.

Crafting an effective compensation strategy is a blend of understanding employee needs, aligning with your organization’s goals, and staying attuned to market trends. By offering a well-balanced mix of competitive salaries, performance incentives, comprehensive benefits, and open communication, you can create a compensation strategy that not only attracts and retains top talent but also fosters a culture of employee satisfaction and growth. Remember, a successful compensation strategy is a dynamic process that requires continuous evaluation and adaptation to ensure its continued effectiveness.

Wrapping Up: The best forms of compensation for your employees

Of course, some forms of compensation may not be viable for all businesses. For example, if you’re a smaller business, you may not be able to afford total compensation packages for all of your employees. Likewise, your business may not have the financial means to support an entire team on base salary: in this case, starting some new hires on an hourly rate may be the best possible way to support your bottom line. Although offering some type of employee compensation is integral to ensuring employee satisfaction, it’s equally important to only offer what your organization can financially support long term. Finding out what your employees want in terms of compensation, and being open to negotiating as needed, is a crucial aspect of letting your employees know that they are valued.

Compensating your employees for the time and effort they put into your organization’s growth is essential to ensuring employee retention. According to Employee Benefits News, the average employee exit can cost your organization approximately 33% of their annual salary – however, offering a type of compensation plan that will assure employee satisfaction will allow you to take crucial steps towards securing the right people and increasing your employee retention rate. However, financially compensating your employees for their hard work is only the beginning. In order to offer the best business incentives to your employees, it’s important to invest in innovative tools and software that can give your employees the rewards they want. If you’re looking to integrate these tools with your employee compensation program, contact Bucketlist today!

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