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As part of the “Engaging the 21st Century Workforce” series from SuccessFactors, I will be one of the speakers to discuss how to build a culture of ongoing engagement with compensation management best practices. I will be joined by SuccessFactors customer Marilyn Evans, Global Total Rewards Program Manager at Varian Medical Systems as well Yannick Peterschmitt, Director, HCM Solutions at SAP.  To register, you can click here: http://sfsf.ly/Engage212BlogOS

This is just one in a series of webinars on the importance of employee engagement in HR processes today. You can see (and register for) the rest of the webinars here Just last month, my co-author and industry colleague, Venki Krishnamoorthy discussed employee engagement in the context of employee performance management – something that obviously ties in well with our discussion on compensation management.  You can check out his blog on this subject here.

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A few common themes will permeate our conversation. The first theme is about simplicity (simplification) from a number of different aspects.  Simplification is key in today’s world where the Internet rules and the websites we visit become more and more user-friendly. As employees, we bring these consumer interactions into the workplace. Our expectations on how websites and systems should work – including our HR applications – has fundamentally changed from even five years ago.  We must recognize these expectations and deploy solutions that are engaging yet simple to use. Compensation systems are no different in this regard.

Simplicity is important not just from a user experience perspective; it’s also critical to show transparency with numbers in our compensation programs. Compensation Professionals have probably heard some of these common questions from employees related to their compensation: “How was my salary increase calculated? How was my salary increase related to my performance? To my peers? How much of my bonus was calculated from my individual performance versus my division’s/department’s and/or company’s performance? How was our team’s and company’s performance measured exactly?”  Designing straightforward salary and incentive plans (and clearly communicating them) is an important part of simplification. When we do this, we rapidly increase adoption of our compensation programs as we take the mystery out of compensation calculations for the employee.

There are also some important change management and communication considerations for Compensation Professionals in public companies. You might hear an employee ask “who’s eligible for stock awards at this company, and why am I not?”  Being transparent with the long term award programs available for employees is a touchy matter and, if mishandled, will lead to grumpy employees to say the least. Clearly articulating compensation programs including bonus, long term incentives, profit sharing and perquisites at a company (for executives and non-executives alike) is paramount to the success of any compensation program.

A second theme of the webinar will be around change management – including training. No matter how intuitive you think an application is, there will always be a user constituency with training needs. When a project team works with a solution, oftentimes, obvious things may not seem so obvious including where training or guidance is needed. Organizations – big and small – will need dedicated internal and/or external change management professionals to identify the process, workflow, and tool changes, so that they can communicate and train to those changes. All too often, we underestimate training needs, thinking that the compensation planning process and application will be easy for managers and HR to understand. What we sometimes forget is that compensation planning (for most companies) happens only once a year during a focal review process.  Most managers don’t remember how to use a tool they use once a year, never mind the workflow around that process. Knowing how to engage with managers during the compensation planning cycle process will have huge impact in determining your overall success.

We will also discuss best practices and lessons learned we have picked up along the way as we have deployed new compensation processes (and new compensation systems). For areas as critical as compensation planning, it’s important to get it right the first time, and hit a home run! Gaining employee engagement – from employees to managers to HR Professionals – is as critical to compensation as with other HR processes such as performance, learning and recruiting.

Please join my fellow speakers and me on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 9am PT/12noon ET for our online webinar, register here:  http://sfsf.ly/Engage212BlogOS. You’ll also get a chance to ask questions during the Q&A.

See you soon!

Jeremy Masters

(You can find me on Twitter and read more on my website’s blog).

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