Ann Bares, Dan Walter and I believe that everything we do in compensation is communications and we gave a great group of colleagues an earful on the subject this week at the WorldatWork Conference. If you were there, thanks so much for joining us. We had a great time with you!
If you weren't, I thought I'd share some of the spicier bits. We had (of course) a lot to say.
Designing compensation programs is like dealing with the Kardashians. Everyone in your family (I mean, your stakeholders) has an opinion about comp. Everyone has an agenda. Oy, the emotions involved. Quit trying to duck it. Deal with it.
Who exactly is everyone? The list of stakeholders goes on and on, and they don't see eye to eye readily. Legal, Execs, Division Heads, Department Heads, Managers, HR Business Partners, and more. See what we mean? Comp numbers are not the only point of your story if you have to get all of these people on the same page.
When's the best time to incorporate communication into your compensation planning? Now. You can say you are frustrated or you can do something about it from the first step of your compensation program design process.
That's right, if you are identifying problems with your current program in order to design a new one, it's time to get out of your office and watch those Kardashians (er, I mean stakeholders) closely. You'll achieve a deeper understanding of what is going on that requires the comp program redesign.
Recognize that you are more likely to get the program design right if you start thinking about communications from the very first step. (Imagine, no regrets at implementation because it finally dawned on you that you should have designed something differently.)
Think about it. The comp program design itself is communication. That means, every plan design decision is really a communication decision.
I want to show these points clearly and boldly so I am purposefully light on details. Stay tuned, there's a lot more where they came from.
Margaret O'Hanlon is founder and principal of re:Think Consulting. Margaret brings deep expertise in total rewards communications and change management to the dialog at the Café. Before founding re:Think Communications Consulting, she was a Principal in Total Rewards Communications and Change Management with Towers Perrin. Margaret is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Pacific Plains Region. She earned her M.S. and Ed.S. in Instructional Technology at Indiana University. Creative writing is one of her outside passions, along with Masters Swimming.