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The Pros and Cons of Merit Pay

Merit pay is a compensation strategy that is used to motivate employees with pay increases for positive performance outcomes. This system is one that is heavily debated among businesses throughout a wide variety of industries. Every business has its own unique structure and culture, and must decide what payment system works best for them based on a set budget developed from salary reports. If you are thinking about establishing a merit pay system for your company, it is important to understand both the pros and the cons:

Pros

– Statistically, merit pay is one of the most effective methods for motivating employees to perform at their peak, which allows them to achieve high levels of productivity.

– This pay system promotes healthy competition among employees, encouraging each to work hard to achieve their very best while also delivering great results for the company. Employees enjoy being recognized among their co-workers and upper management for a job well done.

– The brightest and most skilled employees can easily become unmotivated. With a merit pay system, however, motivation is achieved. High performers are well aware of their skills and enjoy using them in challenges to achieve goals that are linked to monetary incentives. Merit pay gives these employees the recognition and reward they deserve and also helps companies to retain their best employees.

Cons

– Merit pay systems can cause conflict among employees. Some may feel that the system is unfair because no matter how hard they work, they may not be able to earn any incentives. This leads employees to feel unmotivated and unimportant. This is primarily due to inadequate performance appraisal systems leading to inconsistencies among raters.  And the performance appraisal ratings are the basis for the merit pay.

– Merit pay systems can garner healthy competition, but they also may lead to the disintegration of team unity. If everyone is in it for themselves, problems could arise. Personal goals may become more important than team goals, which is not beneficial for the company as a whole. Top performers may also be seen as more valuable and important than others, leading to feelings of jealousy.

– It can be challenging in the current economy to adequately distribute merit pools of 2% or 3% and still award your top performers adequately

For the most part, merit pay is a method that is generally accepted and tends to work for most businesses. It is important, however, that you still weigh the pros and cons before carefully choosing a payment system that works the best for your business and its unique culture. All incentives should be those that will be meaningful to employees. As such, businesses must provide incentives that are competitive with compensation being provided to top performers at other companies. Salary reports can provide you with this data.

At WageWatch, our professionals can provide your business with compensation surveys and salary reports to help you establish a budget for your merit pay program, including bonuses and incentives. Our innovative company is a leader in the collection of data for surveys and salary reports, which allows us to provide services to a wide range of industries in both the private and public sector. To learn more about our compensation surveys, salary reports and other services, please call 480-237-6130 or contact us online.

 

Compensation Committees

Compensation committees are an appointed group of individuals that have corporate governance over compensation and benefit programs for executives and company officers. The committee is typically chaired by the CEO and composed of both inside management directors and outside independent directors. Their work includes determining the types of pay plans, the amount of compensation and the performance measures that the executives will be upheld to in regards to the calculation of incentives.

Compensation committees play a strategic role within the business by aligning company performance and executive rewards. Individuals within the committee must create a compressive program, with the aid of compensation surveys and consultants, which motivates executives to achieve the overall goals and objectives of the company within their own positions. High performance is best achieved through the implementation of a strategic merit pay program, short and long term incentive plans including stock awards, retirement, and executive perquisites.

In addition to strategy, compensation committees also play an administrative role. They are responsible for completing studies, evaluating alternative compensation plans and outlining the compensation package. Compensation Committees often times have oversight over complex human resources issues such as equal opportunity and pay, executive succession planning, and director evaluation issues. How much oversight Compensation Committee has depends on many factors including composition of the committee, management engagement, corporate culture, and regulatory environment.

Over the years, executive compensation has become a rather large issue in the media. There are numerous media watchdogs that have the ability to relay information to the public more quickly than ever before. In addition to increased media attention, executive compensation has also seen tighter government regulation. Committees must accurately address the expectations of board members and investors. To keep investors happy, the executives must stay motivated to achieve the established business goals and objectives. Therefore, committees have an extremely important role in designing merit pay programs.

An effective executive compensation program will include performance evaluation that is both measurable and well communicated. The rewards for delivering results need to be meaningful to executives and competitive with what other businesses in the marketplace are offering. At WageWatch, our Executive Compensation Survey and Compensation Consultants can you’re your Compensation Committee to establish a budget for salary changes, benefits and merit pay, including any bonuses or incentives. We have the experience and capability to collect data for compensation surveys, salary reports and other studies in a wide variety of industries. To learn more about how our compensation surveys can help you to develop effective and competitive compensation strategy, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9246 or contact us online.

 

Benefits of Merit Pay

Merit pay is a pay for performance compensation strategy that provides base pay increases centered on demonstrated performance and desired outcomes. It not only rewards high performers for their additional contributions to the business, but also aims to retain key talent and rising stars. WageWatch has found that for 2012, 71% of 4,515 hospitality and lodging employers use merit as either their primary method for increasing base pay or in combination with other methods depending on the job title.

Merit programs need to be closely aligned with performance management systems and the compensation model. One way for HR to illustrate this alignment to management is with a merit matrix. The merit matrix is a decision making tool that combines an employee’s performance score and the position in the salary range to produce a merit pay recommendation. The merit matrix is used by department managers to plan and forecast their merit budgets.

The following are some advantages of adopting a merit based compensation system:

– The connection between individual effort and reward motivates employees to exceed expectations. Their performance is evaluated based on demonstrated ability and objectively according to measureable standards.

– Merit pay drives individuals to further develop skills that are important in succeeding in their role.

– Merit pay is a company’s investment in high performing employees. This investment encourages high performers to stay with the company. At the same time, the absence of reward for poor performance encourages this group to either improve or look elsewhere.

The widespread use of merit pay comes from the wide acceptance by employees that paying for performance is a fair and equitable way of rewarding individual contribution and high performance. When implementing a merit base pay system for the first time, it is critical that the performance evaluation criteria be valued, measureable, and well communicated. The rewards need to be meaningful to the employees and competitive with what others in the marketplace are paying their top performers.

Compensation surveys or salary reports from WageWatch can help you to establish a budget for salary ranges and merit pay, including bonuses and incentives. We are an innovative, cutting-edge organization that is constantly developing new ways to collect data for surveys and salary reports, which allows us to provide services to a wide range of industries. To learn more about our compensation surveys, salary reports and other services, please call 480-237-6130 or contact us online.