While many economists say the labor market will "return to normal" in 2023, this new normal has yet to emerge. Despite stubborn inflation rates and fears of a recession, unemployment rates remain historically low, and organizations struggle to build employee satisfaction and attract and retain talent. According to a Gallagher survey on workforce trends, "retention of talent" is the top organizational and HR priority.1

In a separate Gallagher study, compensation and total rewards to increase employee satisfaction and drive retention topped the list of workforce trends in 2023.2 Too often, however, total rewards packages rely solely on data — industry compensation benchmarks or employee survey data. A qualitative analytic approach, such as focus groups, adds meaningful insight into employee satisfaction needs and wants. A multi-faceted approach that blends quantitative and qualitative analysis with sector-specific data is essential to developing a realistic and effective total rewards strategy.

In a new whitepaper from Gallagher's Human Resources and Compensation Consulting practice, managing directors Thomas Rylko and Matthew Whitson present four informative case studies on total rewards analysis. Using insights from these examples, they outline a process to drive attraction and retention that relies on independent, expert analysis to weave quantitative and qualitative data together.

CEOs look to HR for talent strategy

CEOs increasingly look to the CHRO for strategic solutions to labor shortages and related recruiting and retention of talent challenges. However, this reliance comes when HR teams face greater workloads with less staff, leaving little time to focus on strategic objectives. A back-to-basics approach that blends quantitative and qualitative information analysis from the following components can produce specific, actionable recommendations that senior leaders seek:

  • Gallagher's total rewards benchmarking data
  • Organization-specific total rewards and employee satisfaction survey results
  • Insights derived from focus group feedback around total rewards

This information, interpreted through independent analysis, helps organization leaders understand the "what" and the "why" of employee satisfaction needs. Building on independent supporting recommendations, HR can strengthen the organization's total rewards offering and enhance the employee value proposition to attract and retain top talent.

Gallagher's approach to a blended total rewards analysis

Start with the quantitative data. Analyze external market workforce trends data and incorporate internal workforce data to understand how your current total rewards offering compares with competitors. Employee surveys further inform this analysis with organization-specific data on employees' perceptions of their benefits.

Add in qualitative insights. After assessing relevant quantitative data, use focus groups to gain micro-level clarity as to what degree the offerings influence employees' satisfaction and decisions to stay with the organization or look elsewhere.

Consider the organization's unique characteristics. Before making recommendations, assess all data in the context of the unique aspects of your organization — industry workforce trends, employee profile and current offerings. Employees often form nuanced preferences at the micro level, where organizations can create market differentiators.

Communicating findings and recommendations

A well-structured and blended total rewards analysis provides a solid foundation for change recommendations. The blended process ensures that the HR team examines the total rewards strategy from multiple perspectives and has sufficient information to make well-informed decisions. An independent third party can best deliver honest, unbiased findings and recommendations to C-suite leaders.

Download Gallagher's whitepaper, Crack the Code to Competitive Compensation and Rewards, for an in-depth look at how a blended approach to total reward analysis can support your recruitment and retention strategy.

Complete the form to download the full version of Crack the Code to Competitive Compensation and Rewards.



1"2023 Global Trends," Gallagher, Jan 2023. Gated PDF.

2"People & Organizational Wellbeing Strategy," Gallagher, 2022. Gated PDF.