Author: Thomas Rylko
- Private pharmaceutical college
- Fewer than 200 employees
- Pandemic-fueled struggle with competitiveness and retention of long-term, mid-career faculty and staff
- Need to control costs
Challenge: Balance employee's long-term financial security with current salary
While the college's average salaries stood below market rates, their total rewards package featured an above-market non-elective contribution of 11% toward employee retirement funds. In a cost-cutting effort, the institution dropped the non-elective contribution from 11% to 5%.
Employees soundly rejected this move. Fearing an exodus of experienced faculty and staff, leaders considered an amendment to their decision. They considered adjusting the offering to include a 5% non-elective contribution and a 5% elective contribution. Leaders perceived the change as a minimal 1% reduction from the original 11% contribution.
The HR team invited Gallagher to assess the total rewards package to ensure it met employee wants and needs to support overall competitiveness.
Solution: Gallagher-facilitated focus groups uncovered top employee priorities
Through Gallagher-facilitated focus groups, leaders learned that employees placed a high value on retirement security. Below-market salaries meant many employees couldn't contribute to their retirement fund. However, employees were willing to accept a slightly below-market base pay paired with a high non-elective retirement match.
Results: Refocused total rewards strategy prioritized retention
Focus group perspectives helped college leaders to rethink their strategy. The HR team refocused the total rewards package to reﬂect what employees said they value most — long-term security. Returning to a high, non-elective retirement contribution underpinned the college's retention strategy.