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Coming to Workspan in May


The May #TotalRewards19 issue of Workspan will soon be hitting computers (and mailboxes)! Look for these TR-focused topics, among others, in WorldatWork’s award-winning magazine.

Read the May 2019 issue now!


Modernizing Total Rewards to Drive Human Capital Sustainability” by John Bremen and Amy Devylder Levenat, Willis Towers Watson

The world of work has changed and shows no signs of going back. To the contrary, it suggests an uptick in speed and evolution. Consider that freelancers represent more than one-third of workers in the United States, and that’s expected to increase to more than half of workers by 2027. And those freelancers are reskilling at almost twice the rate as traditional workers. Add to that a talent shortage brought about by demographic shifts due to generational transitions in both senior and entry-level roles in organizations: 

  • The large Baby Boomer generation (75-80 million) is retiring at the rate of one every nine seconds between now and 2029, according to USA Today Money.
  • The much smaller Generation X (61-66 million) accounts for 51% of leadership roles globally, according to the Conference Board Global Leadership Forecast.
  • Millennials (74-79 million) are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, representing more than one in three workers, according to Pew Research.
  • The smaller Generation Z (60-65 million) is entering the workforce out of secondary schools and universities in large numbers.

Throw in that 65% of children entering school today will end up in jobs that don’t exist yet, that robotics and AI are practically mainstream, that the virtual workplace is institutionalized, and it’s clear that the future is here. Amid this seemingly nonstop cycle of disruption at a constantly increasing velocity, many are asking: Is this pace sustainable? Perhaps more importantly, what happens to the ability of people and organizations to keep up in a productive, engaged and focused state of well-being?

Sustainability is defined as the ability to maintain a certain rate or level. While often associated with environmental factors, sustainability applies in the broadest sense to individual, team, corporate and societal performance. How can organizations maintain pace, productivity and desired outcomes without losing sight of health, well-being, quality of life, quality of products/services, quality of relationships and the importance of the most basic human interactions? Effectively addressing each of these areas results in human capital sustainability.

How to Pay Tech Professionals in a Digital World by David Foote, Foote Partners LLC

It’s difficult to find an employer that isn’t struggling to come up with its own unique tech staffing model that balances four things: the urgencies of new digital innovation, combating deepening cybersecurity threats, ever-changing customer sophistication and keeping increasingly complex systems and networks running smoothly and efficiently.

Getting compensation right for technology professionals has been an especially nagging problem. Compensation and benefits (C&B) teams have experienced decades of constant market price volatility for tech jobs, driven by the swinging pendulum of hot skills and tech labor supply and demand. No less of a challenge has been the multidimensionality of hard-to-fill technology positions with their countless combinations of skills, knowledge and experience in jobs that no salary survey can possibly capture.

And it’s not just the technology skills that make it difficult: Try calculating pay and balancing internal equity when there’s also hybridism in how these jobs fit along a tech-business continuum. Layered throughout the enterprise, tech jobs often require knowledge and experience in specific company products or services, business processes and solutions and even industries and customer niches.

The Evolution of Salary Structures: Are Broadbands a Thing of the Past?” by Cheryl G. Cybulski, CCP, Sheila C. Sever, CCP, and Gregory A. Stoskopf, CCP, Deloitte Consulting LLP

As organizations continue to evolve in today’s ever-changing business landscape, companies are faced with many different challenges when attracting, motivating and retaining their top talent. One such challenge that continues to be top of mind for employers today is how to determine the appropriate approach to designing and administering salary structures throughout their organization. 

WorldatWork and Deloitte Consulting LLP recently conducted a survey of salary structure policies and practices to find out which type of salary structures are most commonly used today and how their attributes and application varies by industry, organizational size, and employee workforce segments.

Updating the Compensation Conversation: Time to Reboot Manager Effectiveness” by Sharon Podstupka, Pearl Meyer

Money. It’s a tough subject. It’s a sensitive subject. It’s an uncomfortable subject. It’s no wonder we find that compensation communications are an ongoing, chronic challenge among companies, no matter the size.

Specifically, it’s those manager-to-employee discussions about pay decisions where companies discover that managers just aren’t that good at it.

Yet managers continue to have primary responsibility for having perhaps one of the most important face-to-face conversations of the year: the pay discussion. Even for the greatest managers in the world, these conversations can throw some curveballs, in addition to simply being awkward. Ultimately, one person needs to look another person in the eye and tell them how much the company thinks they’re worth. It takes skill, confidence and lots of practice to do that gracefully and, maybe more important, effectively.

“Dealing with Culture Risk Before and During M&A Integration” by Brent Heslop and Carly McCoy, Mercer

67% of merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions experience delayed synergy realization due to one factor: culture. Differences in culture between acquirer and target create complexity that often goes unaddressed because it is not seen as a financial risk — and that is a mistake. Left to chance, culture misalignments have the potential to derail operations post-close, with culture causing a delay in synergy realization in 47% of deals. Culture disparities can destroy value.

To mitigate that risk, acquirers must identify potentially troublesome culture issues — in their own organization and in that of their deal partner. They need to understand the factors that are most likely to get in the way of deal value for both the target and the buyer. They also need to focus on critical deal risks, not theoretical cultural aspirations, and create a clear action plan that will help mitigate, manage or reduce the risks.


Managing Exec Comp in Emerging Growth Companies by Greg Arnold and Charles Gray, Semler Brossy

Emerging growth companies (EGCs) are at a unique inflection point in their lifecycle as they transition from a privately-held smaller company to a more mature — and often much larger — public company. (See “What Is an EGC?”) This stage presents unique opportunities and challenges, requiring a careful consideration of priorities as companies evolve coming out of the initial public offering (IPO). Fortunately, EGCs enjoy many benefits that provide flexibility to tailor executive pay programs to the company’s circumstances and strategy, as well as a transition period that allows for thoughtful implementation of typical public company norms and processes. This transition period can be particularly important given that resources at many EGCs are constrained leading up to, and coming out of, the IPO. 


A Greater Understanding: How to Be a Strategic Sales Comp Partner” by Rachel Parrinello, Alexander Group

The leader of the sales department — the chief revenue officer (CRO) — places a high importance on the effectiveness of the sales compensation program. In many companies, this position owns the program. You can understand the CRO’s passion to ensure that the sales pay program drives the company’s strategic objectives, aligns to the market and motivates sellers to achieve their sales goals.

Sales leaders often dictate their compensation design recommendations. Some of these changes reflect best-class practices, but others do not. It is common practice for a sales manager to port previous plan designs from a prior job/company to a new company. Sometimes, these alien plans make sense and other times, they do not. Even when using plan designs from the same industry, sales leaders must tailor their plans to reflect their own company’s strategy, jobs, reward philosophy and go-to-market (GTM) model.  


7 Tips for a Successful Open Enrollment” by Emily Dobbins, Hodges-Mace

Open enrollment. Speak those two words to anyone in the benefits industry and you’ll more than likely get an eye roll or a sigh. When it seems like you have just conquered and survived another enrollment season, you’re already starting to plan for the next one.

But what can be done to stop the eye rolls and sighs? What changes can be made to put a smile on those faces instead of a frown? I have just the thing: a well-rounded communication strategy.

I hear you saying, “I know this already.” Yes, you may know it, but let’s refresh ourselves on what a good communication strategy looks like and ways to put it into action.


The Real-World Impact of Gender Pay Gaps by Tamara Phillips, SAP

Gender pay equity is essential for economies and societies to flourish. Unfortunately, recent findings from the World Economic Forum show that the global pay gap between men and women will take 202 years to close due to the vastness of the gap and the slow pace of change.

What’s more, even though the gap has narrowed slightly, the number of women in the professional workplace has fallen and pay equity has stalled. Globally, women are paid on average 63% less than their male counterparts for similar roles.

Given that women comprise about half of the world’s working potential, the more women earn, the more fully they can participate in the economy. Clearly, the full economic participation of women is better for the communities in which they live — and beyond.

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