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How To Create Your Total Compensation Statement Template (And Why You Should)

Compensation is about more than just salary. Help your employees understand the true value of their compensation.

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In a working world where the grass is often greener elsewhere, employers must take extra steps to demonstrate commitment to their employees. One strategy is to offer a total compensation statement detailing the exact dollar spent on each employee’s salary and benefits. This information personalizes the value of each individual and serves as an excellent recruitment tool.

Our guide explains the benefits of creating a total compensation statement template and what to include in yours. 

What is a total compensation statement?

A total compensation statement template is a document that breaks down an employee’s compensation and benefits package, including salary, bonuses, health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks. It’s a comprehensive summary of all the components that make up an employee’s total compensation package, beyond their take-home pay. 

For example, Bureau of Labor Statistics data highlights the distinct difference between employees wages received and what employers actually spend on them:

  • Average civilian worker compensation costs employers $43.93 per hour ($30.35 for wages and salaries and $13.58 for benefits)
  • Average private industry compensation costs employers $41.53 per hour ($29.34 for wages and salaries and $12.19 for benefits) 
  • Average state and local government compensation costs employers $59.90 per hour ($37.09 for wages and salaries and $22.81 for benefits) 

Your employees might not understand this information unless you present it in a detailed statement. 

What should you include in your total compensation statement template?

For employees to gain an in-depth understanding of what they receive alongside their regular pay packet, it’s essential to include all components of their compensation package. Here are some common elements to feature in your total compensation statement template: 

Direct compensation 

Direct compensation is the money employees receive in their pocket for the work and hours they complete. This type of compensation is easy for employees to understand and visualize; typically, it’s deposited into their bank account so they can spend it as they please, including buying food and paying their bills. Direct compensation includes: 

  • Base salary: Employees receive a standard salary (calculated hourly or annually) for completing their work.  
  • Overtime: When employees work beyond their contracted hours, they may receive pay at a higher rate, such as 1.5x or 2x their normal salary.
  • Bonuses: Commission or performance-related bonuses may be available annually or at other points of the year.
  • Paid time off: Employees continue to receive their regular compensation and benefits when taking Paid Time Off (PTO), such as vacation or sick leave. 

Indirect compensation

Indirect compensation is the portion of their pay packets that employees often forget about. Employers are required by state or federal law to provide some of these costs, while others can help attract and retain talented team members. Indirect compensation includes: 

  • Taxes: Employers must deduct Social Security, Medicare, and FUTA taxes from employees’ pay to contribute to the government programs. 
  • Insurance: Employers also pay short and long-term disability coverage and workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees if they become unwell, have an accident at work, or need time off for caregiving reasons.
  • Flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts: Pre-tax benefits are available for health insurance, including dental, vision, and life insurance coverage. 
  • Retirement plans: Employers may pay retirement contributions such as 401(k) or pension plans to help employees save for their future. 
  • Stock options: Some companies allow employees to purchase company stocks at a discounted price, providing potential financial benefits in the long term. 
  • Stipends: Employers may provide upfront payments to cover expenses related to commuting, fuel, cell phones, technology, remote working, employee development, and more. 
  • Reimbursements: Employees submit receipts for mileage, tuition, and other expenses associated with work.
  • Perks: Employers can round out a comprehensive employee benefits program with flexible allowances for wellness, travel, personal development, meal costs, and more. 
  • Assistance: Some employers offer counseling, legal advice, family forming, fertility, and childcare services to support employees in their personal lives. 

Take a look at the template below for an example of how you can structure your total compensation statement. Download a customizable version of this template here

Free total compensation statement template

What are the benefits of providing total compensation statements?

Total compensation statements are easy to produce if you use payroll software. And they can strengthen the employee experience in the following ways: 

1. Improving retention rates 

Compensation is an important factor in attracting and retaining top talent—30% of employees admit they’ve previously left an employer whose benefits weren’t up to scratch. If you’re experiencing high churn rates or aren’t hiring high-caliber candidates, the problem might be how you communicate your total compensation package. 

In this case, Employee Retention Expert Cara Silletto explains why compensation education is crucial:

“Employees may be leaving jobs because they think they’re underpaid, but oftentimes they may simply misunderstand what their total compensation is. That’s why it is so important for employers to educate their staff on the total investment they are making in them. Sharing a total compensation statement at least once a year can be eye-opening for employees. When they realize the investment their company makes in them day in and day out, they may be more likely to stick around longer.” 

Education leader Lacie M Couzin recaps a near miss when her son almost left his role due to a misunderstanding about his total compensation. 

“He was looking to switch companies because of what he had heard about a friend’s salary change. When we discussed the benefits at both organizations, the potential for advancement, and the bonus structure, switching was a wash.”

2. Increase trust and transparency 

Laying out your entire compensation package in black and white is an essential exercise in transparency. It signals to your employees that you’re willing to be entirely honest about what you spend on them and aren’t interested in cutting corners or hiding certain information from them. In a recent Compensation Trends for 2024 report, 59% of employees believe salary transparency only happens when companies communicate the entire compensation package to their workers, including additional benefits and bonuses.

Executive Leader Mee Hee Smith explains the value of being candid by encouraging employees to explore their personal situations. 

“Even when not considering a job change, that transparency could get someone at least to look and learn more. People value different things dependent on life stage and needs.”  

3. Boost employee morale and engagement 

Employee morale has taken a hit recently, as layoffs have plagued the tech, media, and finance industries, and the cost of living continues to rise. Two in five salaried employees didn’t receive a raise in 2023; for the rest, their raise was 25% lower than in 2022, according to Bamboo HR.

Providing details about total compensation can boost morale and engagement even if salary increases aren’t realistic this year. When employees see that you’re actively contributing to other areas of their compensation beyond basic salary, they understand that you’re invested in them. 

4. Extend employee benefits knowledge 

Ideally, your company will already have a strong benefits communication strategy, so your staff knows what is available to them. But for too many organizations, this isn’t the reality. For example, CNBC’s Your Money Survey found that 46% of people don’t know what investments are in their 401(k). 

A total compensation statement can raise awareness of what employers contribute toward their employees’ retirement savings, health plans, and numerous other perks and benefits. You might consider incorporating charts, graphs, and other visual aids to help employees visualize their total compensation package.

What are the common challenges of providing total compensation statements?

Total compensation statements can lose their impact if you haven’t put the necessary planning and prep work into them. Be aware of the following pitfalls to avoid damaging morale or trust in your ranks. 

1. Data errors or missing information

Every number on your total compensation statement should be triple-checked for accuracy. Any errors can trigger employees to question the company’s integrity, leaving many feeling under-compensated and undervalued. 

Similarly, omitting certain benefits or bonuses can also damage the credibility of your total compensation statement. Ensure you include all relevant and current information to avoid confusion or misunderstandings.

2. Feelings of inequality 

It’s important to ensure that all employees are receiving accurate and fair compensation. Your workers may discuss or share the information in their total compensation statements. Any discrepancies in compensation can lead to feelings of unfair treatment and mistrust within your team. Review and update compensation packages for all employees regularly as part of your greater DEI strategy. 

3. Infrequent timing 

Total compensation statements should be updated and distributed regularly, such as annually or during performance reviews. Infrequent timing can cause employees to feel they don’t have a grip on their total investment, which can be unnerving and inconvenient for those who want to be in the know. 

5 total compensation statement tips

Need a TL;DR? Keep these fundamental tips in mind when building and distributing your total compensation statements: 

  1. Provide clear communication: Make sure the statement strikes the right balance between being clear and concise yet detailed enough that employees have a firm grasp of their employer’s investment in them. 
  2. Be accurate: Every detail in the compensation statement should be verified for accuracy. Any mistakes can lead to mistrust among your employees.
  3. Ensure equality and fairness: Regularly review your compensation packages to eliminate any discrepancies and demonstrate your ongoing commitment to DEI.  
  4. Deliver consistent updates: Regularly update compensation statements to keep employees informed about their total investment.
  5. Improve benefits knowledge: Use the statement to educate employees about the various benefits and perks they receive, enhancing their understanding of their total compensation package.

Benepass offers numerous benefits and perks that can be game-changers for employee retention strategies. From lifestyle spending accounts and professional development benefits to health savings and flexible spending accounts, adding these to your employees’ total compensation packages is straightforward. 

Learn more about how to create a comprehensive and engaging total compensation statement for your team by contacting Benepass today for a free demo of our platform. Alternatively, contact sales@getbenepass.com with any queries. 

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Rebecca Noori

Rebecca Noori is a freelance HR Tech and SaaS writer who is obsessed with our world of work. She writes about everything from employee benefits and performance management to upskilling and productivity tips. When she's not writing, you'll find her grappling with phonics homework and football kits, looking after her three kids.

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