Compensation and Benefits Strategies sample essay

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Employees are worth more than their hourly wage, even though, that is typically all that is considered by an employee while looking for a new job or considering a move to a different job or employer. Employers see employees as much more than the hourly or salary that they are offered to do a specific job. The benefits package that employers offer to employees is worth a substantial amount of money. Health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and other benefits, and even some discount programs are part of the entire compensation and benefits package. Employers, and employees alike, need to understand and educate themselves on the added value they have by looking at the entire compensation and benefits package and comparing it to other companies before taking a position for a higher hourly or salaried rate. Centura Health is evaluated throughout this paper regarding their compensation and benefits strategies.

Market Evaluation

Companies in competing markets need to know what their competitors are offering in terms of compensation and benefits packages so that they are able to stay current with what other organizations are offering their employees. Researching and understanding the compensation and benefits of competitors is a vital process in hiring and recruiting new employees from the regular job market of employees and when trying to recruit employees away from their current employer. Understanding the compensation structure of your own company, and of your competitors, will make evaluating the current structure easier and then making it more appealing to employees wanting to be employed by the organization will be a more informed decision making process. Centura Health, Kaiser Permanente, and the University of Colorado Hospital will be reviewed.

Centura Health

Centura Health is one of the largest employers in Colorado. Centura Health’s website states, “Centura Health takes pride in providing a comprehensive benefits package that’s designed to inspire health” (Centura Health, n.d., p. 1). Centura Health is looking for talented employees that will help them continue their mission and support their key values. Centura Health offers competitive wages, health insurance, prescription coverage, vision, and dental through their health benefits package.

Centura Health offers short-term and long-term disability packages along with life insurance and accidental death insurance for an additional low fee. Centura Health offers a paid time-off (PTO) that accrues during each pay period and 401k and other retirement programs. An employee assistance program is offered by Centura Health for employees who may need counseling or a referral to a counselor to help them cope with issues in their work or home life. Centura Health also has an associate discount program that offers discounts on many services such as cell phone carriers, life, and car insurance among many other discounts.

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente (KP) is another one of Colorado’s largest employers and a dominate player in hiring talented health care employees. Kaiser Permanente’s website states, “we understand that providing excellent service to our employees enables you to provide excellent service to our members. As a result, we offer a total compensation package designed to enhance the lives of you and your family member” (Kaiser Permanente, 2015, p. 1). Kaiser Permanente offers a wide range of benefits to their employees with enrollment into the KP health insurance being at the top of their list. Kaiser Permanente also offers “flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings account (HSA), supplemental life insurance, occupational accident insurance, mental health, care, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, health care on-site, and retiree health and medical” (Kaiser Permanente, 2015, p. 1). Kaiser Permanente also has other benefits under the following categories for employees, financial and retirement, family and parenting, vacation and time off, perks and discounts, and professional support. All of these categories expand into additional areas of benefits to employees.

The University of Colorado Hospital

The University of Colorado Hospital is also one of Colorado largest employers in healthcare. The University of Colorado Hospitals (UCH) website states, “We are proud to provide competitive and comprehensive health and welfare benefits as part of our Total Rewards program” (University of Colorado Health, 2014, p. 3). The University of Colorado Hospital, like the previous employers, offer a medical health plan, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, short and long-term disability insurances, and dental and vision plans. The UCH offers a dependent day care spending account (DCSA) to their employees to help pay the cost of day care with tax-free dollars.

The UCH also offers their employees the ability to sign up for a group legal plan. The University of Colorado Hospitals benefit enrollment guide states that their UltimateAdvisor program, “offers you a wide range of legal services to help you prevent and resolve everyday legal issues” (University of Colorado Health, 2014, p. 17). The daycare and legal programs offered by the UCH are not offered by their competitors and make them more desirable when comparing compensation and benefits packages.

Compensation Structure

Centura Health uses an annual employee review system called Performance, Feedback, and Development (PFD) to review employees to determine if they are eligible for a yearly raise. This process involves the employee rating themselves on how they are meeting their job performance in accordance with Centura’s seven core values. The seven core values are compassion, respect, integrity, spirituality, stewardship, imagination, and excellence (Centura Health, n.d., p. 1). This process is time intensive and cumbersome for employees and managers to sit down and write scenarios and narratives for these values. Employees skip the self-assessment section by doing the bare minimum of just checking the auto-populated response available to meet their required timeline for turning in the assessment.

Market Position

Centura Health’s market position falls into the large-sized companies. Centura Health employs “17,100 employees and associates” (Draper, 2014, p. 1). Centura Health is expanding into a new health campus and new physician buildings in the northern Denver Metropolitan area. Centura Health had a net income of $61.5 million “(Sealover, 2013, p. 1). Centura Health operates 15 hospitals throughout Colorado after the recent expansion into the St. Anthony North Health Campus.

Compensation and Benefits

Centura Health needs to stay competitive when offering their compensation and benefits package to new employees. The existing compensation package that Centura Health offers is solid and market comparable to their competitors. As Centura Health continues to expand their locations and the need for employees continues to grow it would be advised that Centura Health looks at daycare benefits to their employees with children and, to include, elderly family members who may need assistance of daycare programs as well. Centura Health promotes health and wellness throughout their system and has recently stopped hiring any employee that smokes. Employing healthier employees does several things for Centura Health.

Sick time will be reduced by hiring healthier employees, reduced profit loss by having more employees at work than on sick time and reduced health insurance costs for both Centura Health and the employee. Work-life balance is important for Centura Health to review in their compensation and benefits packages. Centura Health can benefit from telecommuting for many administrative jobs and to support more flexible work schedules for employees who need to start earlier or later and can stay for the full shift amount of time because of their home life requirements. Work-life balance is important to employee’s health and wellness and offering additional options into the preconceived mold of being a healthcare worker will make Centura Health a more desirable employer for the talented employees they want to employ.

Performance Incentives and Merit Pay

Centura Health would benefit from a reward-based program that would include bonuses, for employees who are doing the non-management and non-executive jobs. Incentive Compensation for employees creates a work environment of higher performance and competition between employees. Employees and lower level management can give each other a pat on the back for a job well done, cost savings identification or a heroic moment with a patient, but those moments are short-lived. Rewarding employees speaks volumes when trying to create a positive work-life balance in an organization. Creating an incentive-based program that management can reward on-the-spot accomplishments creates the need to do better with the other employees in the organization. Recognizing employees for a job well done with an incentivized program using gift cards, bonuses, or additional PTO motivates others to try and receive these awards. Creating a positive competitive work environment encourages employees to strive to work better, do better, and be better.


The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was originally created to address issues with pension plans and did not address health, life, disability, or medical benefits. ERISA has been modified, for the most part, to address pension plans, but the medical coverage area was modified with the creation of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). COBRA was created “to provide continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated” (United States Department of Labor [USDOL], n.d., para. 1).


COBRA is offered to employees who have been terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, without any gross misconduct or because of the reduction of work hours by the employer. COBRA is paid for out-of-pocket by the employee and at higher rate than offered through their plan when they were employed. The qualified employee must be offered identical coverage to the plan they had while employed. COBRA is usually an overly expensive option for employees that have been released from their jobs.


HIPAA is a federal law that “limits pre-existing condition exclusions, permits special enrollment when certain life or work events occur, prohibits discrimination against employees and dependents based on their health status, and guarantees availability and renewability of health coverage to certain employees and individuals” (United States Department of Labor [USDOL], n.d., para. 3). Special enrollment examples are exhaustion of COBRA benefits, marriage, and new child by birth or adoption. The employee is to be given a 30-day period to request the special enrollment option
regardless of the plan’s set enrollment dates as provided by the employer.


Centura Health is one of Colorado’s largest providers of healthcare services and largest employers. Centura Health has invested in understanding the health care market so that they can provide a competitive and attractive compensation and benefits package to entice talented employees. There is a benefit to Centura Health and the employee regarding understanding the package presented to them during the hiring process so that both parties understand the worth they are gaining with employment. The compensation and benefits process for an employer is worth an in-depth review of their competitors and the market the organization is in.


Centura Health. (n.d.). Compensation, Benefits and Tuition Reimbursement. Retrieved from Centura Health. (n.d.). Mission & Values. Retrieved from Draper, E. (2014). Colorado hospital giant Centura Health to stop hiring tobacco users. Retrieved from Kaiser Permanente. (2015). Benefits, pay, and enrollment. Retrieved from Kaiser Permanente. (2015). Kaiser Permanente Benefits. Retrieved from,17_IL.18,20_IN1.htm Sealover, E. (2013). Denver hospitals post healthy profits. Retrieved from United States Department of Labor. (n.d.). Applicable Laws, Regulations, Publications and Related Links. Retrieved from United States Department of Labor. (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions COBRA Continuation Health Coverage. Retrieved from University of

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