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WorldatWork Journal

1st Quarter 2015  |  Volume 24  |  Number 1

Is There Merit in Merit Pay? A Survey of Rewards Professionals
Merit pay is one of many rewards programs typically designed to link employee performance to pay. Given that merit pay programs are ubiquitous in industry, but often associated with problems, this study surveys rewards professionals to determine how these programs are designed and the degree to which they are effective. The research indicates there are numerous goals to which merit pay programs are expected to contribute, but not all are of equal value. However, the assessed effectiveness indicates there are still substantial challenges with room for improvement. Low merit pay increases in recent years have made it difficult to differentiate the rewards of high performers from those with only average performance. Furthermore, getting managers to differentiate performance across their employees is difficult. The variation in the way merit pay programs are designed and how these programs are evaluated are discussed in this article.

The Evolution of Nonqualified Plan Governance

Governance of nonqualified plans continues to evolve as employers look for opportunities to minimize risk in their executive pay and benefits programs. Best practices have significantly improved over the years, as more and more employers have approached nonqualified plan management with the same careful oversight applied to executive pay and qualified retirement plans. Establishing a thorough governance structure that coordinates with oversight practices for existing programs can help minimize risk and ensure nonqualified plans are being operated, communicated and maintained as intended.

Are Work-Like Benefits Getting the Respect They Deserve?

Recent writings and blog postings by prominent HR consultants have raised questions about the value that work-life benefits contribute to an organization's employee rewards strategy, and doubts linger about their importance to an organization's key employees. Work-life benefits are the latest major addition to the employee rewards portfolio, and evaluating their contributions to organizational effectiveness is an important work in progress. In recent years, research has emerged to help HR professionals decide if these programs merit continuation and adoption. The results of these surveys indicate that work-life programs are probably not being fully appreciated under traditional HR thinking and by some HR consultants, and that other concerns about their significance to key employees are not justified.

Improving Disability Management: Understanding the True Determinants of Work Disability to Create Healthy, Productive Workplaces

Employers are striving to create healthy, productive workplaces where workers are accommodated after injury or illness as well as contain rising disability benefits costs. Decisions on fitness to work have typically been based on the medical disorder and the treating physician's subjective opinion. The need to reassess this approach and the design of disability-management and accommodation programs is widely recognized. Findings of this research point to considering the true determinants of work disability with less emphasis on medical disorder and more emphasis on interventions that address the work environment, modifiable factors of the worker and social interactions in the workplace.

Hybrid Cash Balance and Pension Equity Plans in the Private Sector

The rise of hybrid cash balance and pension equity plans continues to develop during a profound change in the retirement income institutions of the United States. This  article examines the rise of the hybrid plans, tracing their origins, early implementation problems and their resolution by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and its subsequent regulations.

Ethical Behavior in Sales Organizations: Key Dimensions

The ethical behavior of salespeople is especially important in today's environment of increased customer awareness, shortened product life cycle and stiff competition. A salesperson's ethical behavior plays a critical role in forming, maintaining and sustaining long-term customer relationships. Therefore, sales organizations can gain competitive advantages by focusing on instilling and embodying ethical values throughout the organization. This is normally done by: fostering and sustaining an ethical climate through the creation; communication and enforcement of codes of ethics; punishing unethical behavior; and implementing an effective compensation plan.

Published Research in Total Rewards