February 2023

Four pillars of total rewards

As more and more companies are struggling to attract new talent and retain their existing employees, employers must find new and innovative ways to survive and thrive. And this is a pressing issue: a recent global survey revealed that 61% of workers (60% of Canadian workers) are considered a flight risk.¹

Through their research and field experience, Normandin Beaudry’s experts have divided the causes of this phenomenon into two broad categories: sociodemographic factors and employee disengagement. While the former may prove near impossible to change, something can be done about the latter. However difficult it may seem, the solution to this problem is achievable: organizations must set themselves apart as top employers.

The solution may seem simple for companies that are financially able to pay their employees more, but pursuing this avenue is not without its drawbacks. It’s a costly strategy—with studies showing that at least 15% increase in pay would be needed to make a real difference2 —that can be easily reproduced by other competitors with means. Moreover, this strategy is a mere stopgap and may open the door to inequities in the compensation paid to new talent, to key staff that have been threatening to leave the company for some time, and of long-time, loyal employees.

In addition to a robust total rewards strategy with a clear and strong positioning, Normandin Beaudry proposes four pillars of total rewards to help organizations shine and attract and retain talent.




When thinking about flexible work measures, working from home is usually the first one that comes to mind. A survey of 1,100 workers showed that 60% of respondents would consider quitting if they couldn’t work from home or were forced back into the office more than they’d like.³

However, flexibility is much more than just remote work. It needs to be tantamount to organizational agility and part of a structure that questions the way of doing things in the workplace, at all levels of the organization.

By being agile, organizations can adapt to the shifting needs of employees who wish to work differently. Flexible work schedules and arrangements have ushered in the era of flexible thinking, where solutions are only limited by the organizations and its leaders.

However, the execution, rather than the design of flexibility measures, is where the challenge truly lies. Be it cultural, structural or financial, organizations must first reflect on their ability to implement and support flexible measures.

Organization leaders must also ask themselves how to provide flexibility while maintaining equity in the workplace. The answer lies in transparency and consistency, through words and actions.

Normandin Beaudry’s experts can help employers identify ways to inject flexibility into their total rewards practices. Savings and group benefits plans, career paths, pay structures, participating in special projects, and flexibility in making decisions are just some of the areas in which flexibility can integrated.


Equity, rather than equality, is the answer to inequality.

More and more organizations, especially those whose success relies heavily on their employees, are recognizing the importance of EDI strategies. However, there is still much work to be done, as close to 20% of employees cite the lack of alignment between their employer’s and their own values as a reason for quitting.4

With equity being the fair and respectful treatment of all people, an understanding and appreciation of what makes people different is needed to foster a truly diverse workplace. The ultimate challenge here is inclusion: to make sure each person feels included, respected, and valued in their differences.

EDI goes far beyond collecting sociodemographic data on its workers. Different mechanisms should be in place within the organizational infrastructure, such as accountability of leaders (through clear ownership and measurement of efforts and results), the creation of formal committees (for action plans) and informal ones (to provide support amongst employees), and mentorship systems to promote professional development.

To provide guidance on this matter, Normandin Beaudry’s experts have developed tools to analyze EDI aspects in compensation programs, group benefits and pension savings plans, performance management, and communication approaches. This assessment has resulted in various solutions for improvement to help organizations create and foster a welcoming workplace where all individuals and their differences are included, valued, and supported.


According to Statistics Canada, more than 53% of employees in 2021 said they live with a disability due to a mental health problem. Another 84% of Canadians reported struggling with their mental health during the pandemic,5 with 42% of them wishing their employer would implement flexibility measures to help them achieve a better work-life balance.

Historically, organizations that invest in health initiatives tend to focus on the physical and psychological components. But financial health and social health are two other components that have grown in importance in recent years. These four components are so deeply interconnected that the lack of consideration of any of them can have serious repercussions on the mental health of employees.

Many studies have focused on the impact of stress caused by financial instability on mental health, especially in terms of lack of retirement planning. And with younger workers flooding the job market, social health—which is closely linked to a sense of belonging and need to contribute to making the world a better place—is essential in blurring the lines between the professional and personal lives of employees and their sense of self and community.

Normandin Beaudry’s experts have pooled their knowledge on every angle of health. Their outside-the-box approach in developing tools have resulted in a true holistic approach to health in the workplace. The Architecture of NeedsTM covers aspects of physical, psychological, financial, and social health.


Addressing the needs of today without compromising the ability to address the needs of future generations.

Responsible investing, also known as ESG investing, is an approach that considers environmental, social and governance factors in a company’s investment and growth-based decisions. By considering criteria that are not purely financial, organizations can address a wider range of risks in their investment approach and drive robust performance in the long run.

Responsible investing is based on the premise that organizations that adopt sustainable practices will fare better than their competitors in the long term, while reducing their exposure to more abstract risks such as legal or reputational.

In other words, ESG investing looks beyond returns to ensure that an organization’s mission and investments are aligned. It’s also a tool to attract the next generation of workers, especially young professionals interested by a more ethical management of their investments.

The concerns and values of employees should also be taken into consideration in this approach, since a significant portion of all assets invested in financial markets stem from employee pension plans. Through its responsible and ethical investments, an organization can assert its mission while promoting values that speak to employees.

  1. Ceridian, 2022 Pulse of Talent
  2. Based on Normandin Beaudry’s remundatabase
  3. Sunita Sah, 2021, What to Do About “Back to the Office” Jitters. Harvard Business Review
  4. Ceridian, 2022 Pulse of Talent
  5. Ceridian, 2022 Pulse of Talent