Perceptions of compensation vary. It is seen as a measure of equity and justice. Stockholders are focused on executive compensation. Legislators may view average annual pay changes as a guide to adjusting eligibility for social services. Employees see compensation as a reward for their services and a job well done. Managers will view compensation from the perspective of a labor cost, but also from a competitive perspective that enables them to recruit, engage and retain employees. The four basic compensation policy decisions that an employer must consider in managing compensation are: 1. Internal consistency, 2. External competitiveness, 3. Employee contributions, and 4. Administration of the pay system. The balance between the four policies becomes the employer’s compensation strategy.
It is important that compensation is linked to an organization’s overall goals and strategies and aligned with Human Resource strategy. Not doing so, can lead to serious issues of employee retention, engagement and productivity that can be laborious and expensive to repair. Compensation for many organizations is the single largest business expense and is visible and important to employees, managers and stockholders. Therefore it is important to strategically plan and regularly evaluate compensation systems. Working with your company’s executives is key to ensuring your compensation philosophy is supporting business objectives. Strategic objectives will include significant challenges and priorities now and over the next 2 – 5 years. Some examples are business growth plans, key talent and training objectives, market competition, and whether or not you are in a union environment. Some other key considerations for your compensation program are:
- Attracting the appropriate skill sets and types of employees when needed
- Rewarding employees for their efforts, such as increasing workloads, taking on new tasks and projects
- Employee morale and perceived value of company’s benefits, incentives, and work environment
- A mix of base pay, incentive pay, work environment and benefits that makes the most sense for the organization
- The link between base and incentive pay with performance
- Legal issues such as wage and hour
An example of a compensation strategy that aligns with other Human Resource initiatives is matching pay ranges to desired outcome. If quality, experience and a sophisticated skill set are a strategic advantage to an organization, then it will not be successful hiring employees significantly below the market rate. Determining whether the organization wants to lead, lag or match the market is a key decision. A ‘mixed market position’ approach has become more common as employers realize that a one-size-fits-all strategy does not fit the entire workforce. For example, location and market competitiveness will impact your pay levels and certain key or hard to fill or retain positions may require pay well above the market, while other positions may be ok with a lag approach.
A successful compensation program will focus on top priorities, guide employees to where their effort can create the most value, create financial and non-financial consequences for success and failure, drive and reward the development of skills and encourage teamwork and collaboration. Many organizations today keep an eye toward aligning workers’ interests with company goals through innovative types of rewards in the workplace, including skill based pay and goal sharing. The right total rewards system is a blend of monetary and nonmonetary rewards offered to employees and can generate valuable business results. These results range from enhanced individual and organizational performance to improved job satisfaction, employee loyalty, and workforce morale.
Maintaining a competitive advantage and being able to retain key employees is increasingly important. At WageWatch our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives. WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online .