Total Rewards

An organization’s rewards structure should be linked in ways relevant to organizational goals and overall performance. Compensation (both base pay and performance-based incentives), benefits, work-life balance, and other rewards should be designed with both internal and external equity in mind. Internal equity means that rewards for positions within the organization are appropriately ranked from most critical to least and rewarded accordingly. External equity refers to how the organization compares with others in relation to its total rewards package. Overarching HR strategy helps the organization position its rewards against the market. In other words, the rewards process is custom-tailored depending on how each organization views its team.


Base pay strategies are often well-crafted at the beginning of an organization’s lifecycle but tend to become skewed over time due to a number of factors. Sometimes a new employee is hired at a level greater than existing employees performing the same job duties. Or a high-performing employee is offered a new position elsewhere, and in order to retain her, an adjustment outside the pay range is given. Knowing how to design an organic base pay structure that recognizes the internal value of a position to the organization and balances it against market forces for the same skills is paramount.

After base pay strategies are developed and implemented, team members who perform at the highest levels are often provided ongoing incentives to continue to do so receiving strategically differentiated rewards than those whose performance is average or needs improvement. This is where we can assist an organization in designing both a performance management system based upon establishing organization, team, and individual goals and expectations with ongoing (not just annual) reviews linking accountability and measuring results, and ultimately designing performance-based rewards for high performers.


Benefits should always be viewed from a strategic perspective: How can providing specific benefits assist the organization in attracting, retaining and engaging team members. Benefit design as part of an overall rewards approach assures the organization is getting a positive return on its investment in terms of increased results – all the while maintaining critical cost controls and helping employees focus on productivity.

Kushner’s expertise extends to quantitative and qualitative analyses in health and welfare plans (medical, dental, vision, prescription, life and disability plans); qualified and non-qualified retirement plans (both defined benefit and defined contribution); paid time-off plan design; and executive compensation. We approach this area from both a strategic as well as operational perspective – looking at the types of plans and plan designs that are right for the organization and its employees from a recruiting, retention and ROI basis, as well as for compliance and delivery.


This is one of the least understood and most neglected opportunities for organizations to enhance individual and team performance. We help our clients link team and individual performance with ongoing feedback, recognition and appreciation programs to provide meaningful reinforcement of the organization’s desired culture and outcomes. Many studies indicate that recognition of individual and team performance has a longer-lasting and often greater impact than some compensation-only programs.

Work-Life Balance

Work/life balance issues vary generationally and not surprisingly, within each generation employee to employee. Many younger team members no longer live to work, but rather work to live. Determining the organization’s work/life balance alignment as part of an overall rewards strategy makes a powerful statement to current and potential employees, thus enhancing recruitment, retention, performance, and engagement while putting minimal to no undue burdens on the organization or other employees.

“The team at Kushner & Company was nothing less than outstanding. I would recommend Kushner & Company to anyone who cares about growing their business and taking great care of their employees.”

Pearl Lipner, CEO
Image Express, Detroit, MI

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