Executives Rethinking Approach to Total Rewards

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By Laime Vaitkus
June 7 — Changes in technology and demographics are pushing companies to rethink and revamp their approaches to total rewards, career development and talent strategies, three consultants said during a panel discussion at the WorldatWork conference in San Diego. 

A survey of C-suite executives, conducted by Korn Ferry Hay Group, found that executives place a "considerable focus" on the changing nature of work and see it as having a positive impact on their organization, Melvyn Stark, vice president, Korn Ferry Hay Group, said at a June 7 session. 

Another panelist said the concerns that executives have about the future of the workforce are lining up with the concerns of human resources. HR has the opportunity to gain the cooperation of executives to enact new programs, according to Dow Scott, professor of HR and employment relations at Loyola University. 

Both HR and C-suite executives are concerned about the composition of the workforce; the capabilities of the workforce and future leaders over the next 10 years; and how to attract, engage and retain talent, Scott said. 

The pace of change has sped up, from requiring changes every six to 12 months, to a pattern of nearly continuous change, according to Thomas McMullen, vice president, reward practice leader at North America, Hay Group. 

Organizations need to consider the five "rights" in their future plans, according to Stark. These "rights" include the right people with right skills, the right number of employees, the right composition of abilities and the right pay. "You can't simply do one and not the other," Stark said. 

The classic base pay systems are unlikely to ever go away but will need more flexibility to accommodate paying for "hot" skills, according to Scott. This flexibility might include a stipend or bonus for a particular job, he said. It is critical to look at current market rates for pay, while also considering the demand level for a particular skill, which can wax and wane over the course of a year, he said. 

The focus on pay fairness—paying equitably for skills and experience—is growing among C-suite executives and HR alike, according to McMullen. The concept of pay fairness is also leading to the desire for greater pay transparency among employees, he said. A growing number of states are passing laws that protect employees who share pay information with each other, he said. 

Overall, employees want more transparency about pay, about the business in general, and about their role in the business—and employers will need to comply if they expect to attract and retain the talent they need, according to McMullen. 

To contact the reporter on this story: Laime Vaitkus in Washington at lvaitkus@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris in Washington at tharris@bna.com

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