|Alexander Wood| Total Employee Compensation Explored: From Salary to Benefits

Project: Understanding Employee Compensation

Emphasis: Strategic Organization

Project Summary

The goal I had for this project was to better understand Employee Compensation. The reason for this is because it is a topic that covers many aspects and isn’t readily discussed. The main aspects of compensation are wages and benefits. This is the simple to understand combination that makes compensation. However, it isn’t quiet that simple because benefits includes paid leave, retirement, legal aid, and insurance. With these four topics it could take a lot of understanding to truly understand how compensation is calculated. Hence, why I wanted to focus on this topic. The main areas that I focused on were wages, paid leave, and insurance. The reason for this is because it allowed me to dive deeper into each topic more than if I was to focus on everything.


Considering that the project took to understanding compensation a lot of the time was spent on research what compensation was and how it was calculated. To say the least is the calculation for compensation is ridiculous and very complex. There are many formulas to demonstrate the complexity of compensation, but the best way would to be to look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that does a National Compensation Survey for every quarter of the year. This is where a lot of the graphs that I used to help expand on understand comes from. This was only the start as understanding wages, paid leave, and insurance took the bulk of the time.

The understanding of wages was simple to research because it is the most straightforward of compensation. However, it is important to note that wages can also vary depending on if someone is hourly or salary. Another factor that came up frequently was bonuses. In the National Compensation Survey they put bonuses has nonproduction, which refers to anything not related to the production of an employee. However, when researching it was seen that it was very dependent on the companies when these bonuses would be handed out. That is because nonproduction bonuses or bonuses can range from a hiring, quarterly, or end of the year bonus. This means bonuses can come from anything and the companies can label them as anything as well. Even through wages are straightforward understanding that how someone gets paid still as simple as the number of hours worked sometimes.

After understanding the topic of wages came to understanding paid leave. This was aspect of benefits was very enlightening to research. I say this because I realized how dependent paid leave is on the companies hiring. This is because there is no federal mandate for paid leave, however, it can be dictated by the states. There are some states that have a certain amount of paid leave, but even then it isn’t a lot of days off for the employees. Despite there being no federal mandate it seems like there are unspoken rules that companies to follow for paid leave though. This is further explained further in a booklet I created.

Paid leave may be dependent on the company, but something that became mandated by the government for companies with 50 or more employees is insurance. This came about from the Affordable Care Act and it is one of the reasons by insurance now becomes a complex aspect of employee benefits. This topic is probably the most complex and broad, but the hardest to research. The reason it is the hardest is because finding information on how insurance companies work is very limited and isn’t given freely. This is also the topic that took the longest to research because of those reason. However, if you are able to sit down with insurance brokers it becomes easier to understand the niche complexity of insurances. I was able to discuss with an insurance broker and learned more about the rules that insurances use and how certain aspects are dictated within the field as well. I also discussed with a medical professional business owner to understand more on the business aspect of the cost for a company and what is required from the company to provide insurance.

Booklet and Powerpoint

The booklet and powerpoint was something that was decided on after a discussion with one of my pervious Professors Andra Hansen. The main focus now decided in how to use the research allowed to also decided on to explain Employee Compensation.


The powerpoint is something that I created, so I could use to give a presentation about employee compensation to those who would want to learn about it. It is also something that can be used by companies that have HR departments to easily explain compensation to those working there as well. This was important to create because it simplified the information going in with allowing tables and graphs to explain the whole while someone gave more in-depth knowledge of the subject. The powerpoint is what was used during the Senior Showcase to explain to people as they stopped by, but also for them to ask questions if they had any. The powerpoint as been added in below to be downloaded.


The booklet is something that I created to explain more in-depth on certain aspects of compensation. Despite having time to explain compensation there is still a lot that can be discussed and cannot be fit into a 3 minute presentation. This booklet is mainly used for topics that might come up that couldn’t be fit into the presentation. However, it can also be used with the presentation help someone learn more about the presentation. There are some points of research that are added into the booklet that are in the presentation because of time constraints. The added knowledge would how paid leave is determined and the change of insurance rates. These two topics could be discussed for a couple of minutes by themselves hence they are discussed more in the booklet than the powerpoint.

Creating the booklet was enlightening for me because it helped to solidify what I researched. It is always hard to simplify complex topics, but as I was writing and editing the booklet it allowed me to think of new ways to explain the topics with more easy without creating more questions for people. I would say the booklet took the longest amount of time because it took a lot of editing to complete.

The booklet is added in below, so it can be viewed and read. It can also be downloaded, so it can be used more readily.

Time Accounting

Researching: 30 hours

Interviews: 3 hours

Powerpoint: 3 hours

Booklet: 5 hours

Design: 1 hour

Edit: 12 hours

Mentor Meetings: 1 hour

Total Time: 55 hours