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Total Rewards: from Practice to Theory

  • Enseignant(s):  
  • Titre en français: Politique de rémunération : de la pratique à la théorie
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS:
  • Horaire: Semestre d'automne 2019-2020, 4.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
  •  séances
  • site web du cours site web du cours
  • Formations concernées:
    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation stratégie, organisation et leadership

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation marketing

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation comportement, économie et évolution

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation business analytics



The objective of this course is to familiarize the students with the most important cost factor in any company: the salaries and people related costs. No company can afford nowadays to spend up to 75% of their operational costs in salary without understanding the whys and wherefores.

The Total Rewards course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive theoretical and practical understanding of Compensation & Benefits (C&B), and its impacts on the organizations. It will primarily focus on the process of designing an internally aligned and externally competitive total rewards package to attract, retain and engage talents. In this course, you will learn the Rewards concepts and techniques as well as understand, analyze, evaluate and use the C&B toolbox.

The teaching will be based on case studies, theory, academic research, as well as group work and exercises. It is required for you to read the case studies and participate to the course. The slides discussed in the classroom will be made available on Moodle. External experts will be complementing the teaching and bring most updated reality in the course.


  • Introduction to Total Rewards: history and impact
  • Elements of Total Rewards and Total Rewards Strategy
  • Job Analysis, Description & Evaluation
  • Salary Structures
  • Base Pay Systems and Salary Increases
  • Rewarding Employees Contributions - Incentives Plans
  • Long-Terms Incentives, Stock-Options and Restricted Stocks
  • Hard Benefits, Pension Funds, Life – Sickness – Disability Protection
  • Fringe Benefits, Flexible Benefits & Perquisites
  • Cross-border Transfers and Expatriation
  • Salary Surveys and Benchmarks
  • International Compensation Management
  • Executive Compensation

N.B.: the up-to-date and detailed list of topics will be found on Moodle. I reserve the right to change the scheme of work and course content, depending on time constraints or other unforeseen circumstances, with the intent of maximizing student-learning outcomes.


Strategic Compensation: A HRM Approach, Prentice Hall - 10th edition (2020)

Joseph J. Martocchio

ISBN-13: 9780135226131


Case Studies

Case Studies are an essential part of the course. There will be 8 Case Studies in total, each one of them dedicated to a specific topic. For each Case Study, questions will be made available in advance for you to answer. All sessions where this is required will be specifically indicated on Moodle.

You will individually respond in writing to the questions prior to the classroom teaching. You will also need to upload your homework with your responses each Tuesday before 12:30 on Moodle. No late submission will be accepted. The required format is PDF and the entire content will need to fit into an A4 page with a minimum font size 11.

Based on the “Directive du Décanat n°2” dated 04/05/2010, you will need to individually buy the case studies on the course webpage hosted by the Harvard Business School. The estimated price for all case studies is around USD 30.-.

Group Seminars

The topics to investigate for Group Seminars will be defined mid-semester and attributed to the groups. The organization of the seminars will depend on the size of the class and exact details will be communicated in the first weeks of the semester, once the students are enrolled and the number of students is known.


The work relative to the Case Studies is individual. Any plagiarism, full or partial, will be treated with the highest severity, according to the University policy. The consequence will be the exclusion of the student of the Swiss University system.


If you are interested to take this course, you will need to get formally enrolled on Moodle by Monday, September 23rd at the latest. All the details will be communicated during the first session on Tuesday, September 17th. No late registration will be accepted (no exceptions). For pedagogical reasons, the number of students can be limited, and the enrollment closed at any time in case of high affluence.


1ère tentative

Sans examen (cf. modalités)  

The conditions for passing the course are the following: you will need a) to upload on Moodle during the semester at least 6 documents with the responses to the Case Studies (documents graded below 3 will not count) b) to have completed the Group Seminar with a grade of 3 and above.

The final grade will be calculated as follows:

  • Case Studies: the individual Case Studies documents will be graded on a weekly basis, and will count for 70% of the final grade. The 6 best weekly documents will be used for the average calculation. It will be rounded to the next 0.10.
  • Group Seminars: the graded group seminars will account for 30% of the final grade based on global group performance and individual contributions (students evaluation).
  • Course Participation: a coefficient between maximum +/- 0.5 will be applied to the final grade based on the course participation.


Oral 0h15 minutes

In case a student is absent to the regular final exam, or in case a student is failing the course, the re-take exam will be oral (15’ preparation and 15’ oral exam) and based on one of the case study taught during the semester.

The oral final exam will count towards 100% of the final re-take mark. Students can only redo the final exam if they failed the course; they may not retake the exam merely to improve their mark.

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