Compensation professionals focus on communication

Compensation professionals are now finding greater importance when it comes to compensation communications, according to a new study, The Evolving Compensation Function, by WorldatWork initiated by the Compensation Advisory Council.

In fact, roughly half of respondents say they expect to spend more time on effectively communicating the total rewards value to employees, particularly those who are line managers. While fewer than one in three respondents say they can strongly focus on compensation communications, 32 percent of respondent say they intend to use more channels of digital communications to improve compensation communications.

Based on a separate study, the WorldatWork 2012 Total Rewards Professionals’ Census: What Differentiates Top Performers, communicating and connecting is one of the eight key differentiators among top performers in the total rewards professions; however, communication is not a development concern for rewards professionals.

“The compensation function is certainly evolving,” says Kerry Chou, a Certified Compensation Professional and practice leader for WorldatWork. “Communication and relationship skills are becoming as important as business and technical expertise and need to become a development priority. Experience has shown time and time again that even the best designed compensation programs poorly communicated are perceived negatively.”

Ann Bares, managing partner of Altura Consulting Group, advises there are several strategies to effectively communicate pay, and one way is to strengthen the connection between pay and business strategy, which is often not discussed soon enough.

“Most of the employees we’ve surveyed believe they understand the basic mechanics of their pay, but they don’t see the connection to business strategy,” Bares says. “It’s a mistake to wait until the pay program is in the implementation phase to begin thinking about communication. We are sending clear, often unintentional messages to employees and managers in every element and every step of designing and implementing compensation programs.”

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