Strategic reward takes a long-term approach to how an organisation’s reward policies and practices can support its business objectives. The concept of 'total' reward covers all aspects of work that employees value, both tangible and intangible, and may form part of an overall reward strategy.

This factsheet explores the various aspects of designing and developing a reward strategy, from business case rationale to implementation. It also offers guidance on the principles to consider when designing a reward strategy. It introduces the various characteristics of total reward (including the elements they may include), before looking at the approaches organisations can take, and the advantages and drawbacks of total reward. The factsheet also considers which organisations are likely to adopt a total reward approach.

CIPD viewpoint

What are strategic reward and total reward?

The role of strategic reward

Approaches to total reward

Advantages and drawbacks of total reward


Useful contacts and further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Charles Cotton.

Charles Cotton

Charles Cotton: Performance and Reward Adviser

Charles directs the CIPD's performance and reward research agenda. He has recently led research into: how employers can help improve their employees’ understanding of their personal finances; how front line managers make and communicate reward decisions to their employees; how employers manage the risks around reward; how private sector employers can build the business case for workplace pensions; how employees form their attitudes to pay; and how the annual pay review process can become more strategic. 

He is also responsible for the CIPD’s public policy reward work and has given evidence to select committees on banking pay, redundancy awards as well as responding to various consultations, such as on pensions, retirement and MPs’ expenses.

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