Say what you want. In the end, you are what you pay for.
Your reward philosophy may state that you pay for performance. But is that slackard whose attitude and poor work habits are dragging down the morale of the whole department getting the same (or just a slightly reduced) salary increase as his hard working cohorts? Again? Save your breath, then, because your true reward philosophy has been confirmed by your actions.
Your leaders may talk up teamwork and the importance of collaboration, but are those who produce results by hoarding resources and refusing to support colleagues recognized and rewarded handsomely for their contributions? Employees then see and understand that individual results are golden, no matter how - or at whose expense - they are achieved.
That inspirational statement of values on your website and framed up in your reception area? Are you delivering incentive awards and stock grants to people whose actions and behaviors fly in the face of these words? Your true values are the things you reinforce, not what you choose to inscribe on a plaque. Ask your employees; they know.
Your annual report claims that people are your most important assets. Did your decisions and calls, your treatment of your "human assets" during tough economic times, confirm that claim? Was the compensation pain that had to be endured apportioned fairly - and shared at all levels of the organization?
Compensation programs are not just financial instruments. They are not just HR programs. They are also communication vehicles, and the fact that they have money behind them only serves to amplify the messages they send. Your pay practices define your organization in ways that your internal and external PR efforts cannot touch.
Think about that.
What do your pay practices say about you?
Ann Bares is the Editor of Compensation Café, Author of Compensation Force and Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group LLC, where she provides compensation consulting services to a wide range of client organizations. She earned her M.B.A. at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School and enjoys reading in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter at @annbares.
Image: Creative Commons Photo "You" by gcfairch