Syllabus for HRM-540



Lifestyle Benefits and Compensation in The New Millennium examines both the theory and practice of Total Compensation.  Topics include strategic compensation, employee compensation and benefits, job evaluation, external competitiveness & market analysis, incentives and variable pay, employee motivation, compensation administration and the compensation of special groups. A variety of approaches are employed to examine organizational compensation policy and design. Consideration is given to the interaction between Human Resource Managers and Managers throughout the organization in order to realize effective compensation programs.


This course balances theory and practice. There will be many opportunities to apply compensation theory in required weekly discussions and in both the individual and group projects. The course will emphasize the strategic aspects of compensation and how the organization can achieve a sustainable competitive advantage through compensation policy/programs. By the end of this course, you should have a very in-depth understanding of how to establish, organize, and administer an effective and equitable compensation system.  



After completing this course, you should be able to:  

  1. Analyze factors which determine total compensation programs and evaluate the various forms of direct and indirect compensation in order to recognize the importance of a Total Rewards perspective in Total Compensation.
  2. Evaluate and assess an organization’s strategic goals including objectives, policies and direct forms of compensation programs.
  3. Evaluate components of contemporary total rewards programs lifestyle considerations and the strategic issues which the organization considers when selecting and developing benefit programs in the new millennium.
  4. Review federal and state legislation affecting pay practices, and evaluate the role of governments in compensation, benefits, pay discrimination, executive compensation and other pay issues unique to profit and non-profit companies; union and non-union workers.
  5. Analyze the internal factors and how they influence job structures, i.e., job analysis and job evaluation.  
  6. Evaluate alternative procedures for valuing jobs within organizations including job-based and person-based plans.
  7. Evaluate the external factors of alternative competitive market pay strategies to compare and contrast appropriate market pay approaches that maintain a desired competitive position for a given organization.
  8. Analyze pay-for-performance plans and performance management systems as they apply to the concepts of pay-for-performance and other incentive plans impacting an organization’s strategic objectives.
  9. Review pay related issues, i.e, performance, motivation, recruitment, retention, and their relationship to compensation and benefits.
  10. Analyze relevant factors involved in implementation and administration of pay and reward systems and evaluate their effectiveness.
  11. Analyze issues involved in total rewards programs of “special groups” including executives, union members, contract workers, expatriates, and other unique groups or individual workers.
  12. Analyze ethical issues in pay and benefit programs and the future of total compensation programs.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 9780078029493   Textbook Companion site

Web Resources


Lifestyle Benefits and Compensation in The New Millennium is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.  


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

This course requires you to participate in eleven (11) graded discussion forums. There are also one ungraded but required introduction forum in Module 1.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion board interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete five (5) written assignments. Most written assignments focus on the topics related to the textbook chapters covered in the modules.  Click to view Written Assignment Rubric.

Final Project

You are required to complete a final project on best practice in lifestyle benefits. The final project includes four deliverables.The final deliverable for this project is a proposal to top management (at your current or another organization you are familiar with).   You will conduct research and prepare a proposal for implementation of a “best practice” not already in place within the organization. See the Final Project area of the course web site for further details.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
























Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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