Orientation: Higher education institutions play a significant role in development of skills, which improves the economy; therefore, a high quality of staff is required. Retaining staff with special endeavours within higher education institutions has become a top priority and crucial for any organisational productivity and competiveness. Attracting and retaining talent has remained a critical and complex issue for human capital management in organisations.
Research Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of total rewards on organisational commitment measured by Total Rewards Scale and Organisational Commitment Questionnaire.
Motivation for the Study: There is paucity in research on the impact of total rewards on organisational commitment. Commitment of academic staff is significant as higher education institutions are influential in the development of a country.
Research Design, Approach and Method: This study employed the quantitative research method using a survey design. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect survey data. A sample of 279 academic staff, which was the total population of participants, was selected for this study.
Main Findings: Results show a positive and significant correlation between elements of total rewards (performance management, 0.387; recognition, 0.335; talent development and career opportunities, 0.328; compensation, 0.231; benefits, 0.213; work–life balance, 0.024) and organisational commitment. A variance of 52.3% of total rewards explained organisational commitment. Performance management, compensation, benefits, recognition, talent development and career opportunities significantly predicted organisational commitment. However, work–life balance indicated a negative effect on organisational commitment.
Practical Managerial Implications: Findings of the study has implications to managers because they have to encourage and promote total rewards in order to enforce talent retention within higher education institutions for the benefit of both institutions and employees.
Contribution: For higher education institutions to attract, retain and motivate talent, sound rewards strategy needs to be formulated. Total rewards can be used to retain talent. In addition, performance management should be improved as it influences organisational commitment among academic staff. The results are important to managers with great interest in talent retention and can be used as guideline to develop rewards strategy.