For Total Rewards Professionals, Investments in Career Development Enhance Loyalty

May 8, 2013–Scottsdale, Ariz.–Total rewards professionals view career development broadly and identified training and developmental opportunities as key drivers of long-term loyalty. These were two of the key findings from a new survey report, “WorldatWork 2013 Total Rewards Professionals’ Career Development Survey.”

In late April, WorldatWork introduced a Career Excellence Model for Total Rewards Professionals that depicts eight differentiators of top total rewards performers. This survey delved into one of the model’s key differentiators, “cultivate your professional development.”

Key findings:

Employers’ Investment in the Professional Development of Total Rewards Professionals–Most total rewards professionals perceive the career development benefits offered by their employer as about average (at the 50th percentile). A majority (59%) reported receiving an annual organizational investment of at least $1,000 to spend on external development opportunities (items such as association memberships, conference attendance, and outside training). Respondents most loyal to their current organization were far more likely to report an annual investment of $2,500 or more, demonstrating a virtuous cycle of the exchange relationship between respondents and their employers.

“Employers can easily differentiate themselves by investing in their employees’ career development,” said Bonnie Kabin, CCP, vice president of professional development for WorldatWork. “Even a relatively small employer investment has a positive impact on loyalty. Managing employee perceptions of career development opportunities is key to enhancing engagement and loyalty.”

Career Paths–Nearly half of all respondents reported that the new leader(s) at their organizations had come to the senior total rewards role from the external labor market. When asked why total rewards professionals change organizations, lack of promotional opportunities ranked high among the reasons.

“Since promotions from within are infrequent, even when the economy is good, rewards professionals think of career development more broadly,” explained Kabin. “Not only are they personally invested in their own development, but they also appreciate on-the-job development of skills they believe may ultimately be used at a different employer.”

Career Development Plans–When asked about plans to advance their own careers, the two most frequently mentioned activities planned were training and certification. What is getting in the way of career advancement for total rewards professionals? While budget and organizational support were mentioned prominently, far and away, the barrier mentioned most frequently was time.

“WorldatWork created the Career Excellence Model for Total Rewards Professionals in part to help rewards professionals make the best use of their time,” said Kabin. “By knowing what differentiates top performers in total rewards, they can focus on a handful of things that truly make a difference to their careers.”

About the Study
WorldatWork gathered survey data from January 13 to February 11, 2013. More than 800 respondents participated in the survey (an 18% response rate overall). Respondents consisted of practitioners in compensation (40%), all HR functions (22%), compensation and benefits combined (17%), and total rewards (14%). The demographics of the sample and respondents are similar to the association’s membership as a whole: the average WorldatWork
member works at the managerial level or higher in the headquarters of a large company in North America.

About WorldatWork(R)
The Total Rewards Association

WorldatWork ( is a nonprofit human resources association for professionals and organizations focused on compensation, benefits, work-life effectiveness and total rewards – strategies to attract, motivate and retain an engaged and productive workforce. WorldatWork and its affiliates provide comprehensive education, certification, research, advocacy and community, enhancing careers of professionals and, ultimately, achieving better results for the organizations they serve. WorldatWork has more than 65,000 members and subscribers worldwide; 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies employ a WorldatWork member. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork is affiliated with more than 70 local human resources associations and has offices in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Washington, D.C.

WorldatWork Society of Certified Professionals(R) is the certifying body for six prestigious designations: the Certified Compensation Professional(R) (CCP(R)), Certified Benefits Professional(R) (CBP), Global Remuneration Professional (GRP(R)), Work-Life Certified Professional(R) (WLCP(R)), Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP)(TM) and Certified Executive Compensation Professional (CECP)(TM).

The WorldatWork group of registered marks also includes: Alliance for Work-Life Progress or AWLP, workspan and WorldatWork Journal.