Each year the crew at the Comp Café writes about 200 articles on all things compensation. Many of them are actually pretty darned good. In this spirit, each Café writer has selected a favorite post of 2012. Some were read widely and shared throughout the industry, others are hidden gems you may have missed when they were first posted. Here’s your chance to have a little thought-provoking, cheeky, holiday reading while you wait for reindeer hooves upon your roof. These are some of the best from the best compensation writing team in the business (or one of the best) (maybe around the median?) (nah, we’ll go with the “BEST”). Enjoy and get inspired for a 2013.
Ann Bares: Rewards & Gamification: New Frontier or Next Big Fad?
Used to be that the notion of playing games at work meant sneaking in a hand of Solitaire during a slow moment. Now gaming is drawing attention as a way to connect people to reward programs and focus them on goal achievement. Is this the new frontier of engagement or just the next fad?
Jim Brennan: The Compensation Cookbook
Bowing to the unceasing demands of compensation people for a one-stop source of all the secrets of the trade, E. James (Jim) Brennan dedicated his April 1 article to breaking news about the forthcoming Compensation Cookbook from the renowned author H.R. Screwtape. The Compensation Cookbook is expected to be the last word on 21st Century state of the art in the field of total rewards. Readers are encouraged to place their advance orders as soon as possible.
Chuck Csizmar: Balancing Comp 101 with the Workplace
The contribution you can make to your organization is in blending technical knowledge (the how-to) with seasoning and experience to understand what will work for your organization, considering culture and management bias. Technical knowledge will give you the same answer every time, but knowing how to use that knowledge like a craftsman’s tool to aid in achieving business objectives – that's the key to success as a Compensation professional.
Derek Irvine: You Can Never Give Too Much Recognition
One question I’m often asked is, “Can’t you recognize too much or too often? Doesn’t that water down the effect and impact of recognition?” My answer is nearly always to ask another question, “Have you ever received too much recognition?” The answer is invariably, “No.” Find out why in this post (including why the new Wreck-It Ralph animated movie is on my must-see list).
Margaret O’Hanlon: Your Comp Program Speaks for Itself. Are You Comfortable with That?
It’s tough to be candid with yourself about pay-for-performance practices. This article starts with vignettes from a few companies that don’t realize that they are stumbling. When managers don’t identify high performers accurately (because they prefer to reward their favorites), they don’t realize they’re throwing cold water on productivity and creativity. Most companies can’t afford to stumble these days. Q1 is a great time to both make resolutions and actually start work on them. Here are issues that you can, and should, address in your own backyard to sharpen the focus on results at the same time that you manage the numbers.
Laura Schroeder: Moneyball
Companies tend to overvalue top talent and undervalue everyone else. Assembling a team based on the ‘best’ people you can get for your money isn’t a winning strategy unless money is no object, and even then it’s questionable. This post discusses how the right B team can kick the A team’s butt and how that fact can impact hiring, rewards and performance.
Stephanie Thomas: The Compensation Function is Evolving
This was the Cafe's first infographic – proof that we are evolving right along with the profession. Creating visually stimulating translations of data can be challenging, but the results speak for themselves. It’s great to see that most comp pros (at least those included in the survey) are on the right track. - they recognize the importance of communication and consistency, and are moving toward refinement and specificity. I think this can only improve the compensation function.
Jacque Vilet: Out With Metrics ---- In With Analytics!
I feel strongly that when compensation decisions are made, Compensation professionals need to use analytics that look toward the future rather than metrics that focus on the past. The use of analytics will allow Compensation to more closely align a total rewards strategy with the company’s business strategy --- and that’s Compensation’s most important responsibility.
I love equity compensation, but am not currently enamored with how it is being used. This is the starting point for a discussion on how to best evolve equity compensation. The instruments, vesting schedules and stated goals for most of these plans have changed very little over the past 20 years. While people are naturally resistant to change, we are also supremely adaptable. What can we do to restore the purpose and luster to these programs?
Note: to see more from any of the Compensation Cafe writers simply copy and paste their name into the search field on the left. We bet you will find some additional articles that will make your “best” list for 2012.
All the best,
The Compensation Café
(And a special "thank you" from the Editor to Dan, who took time out of a busy year-end schedule to coordinate and compile this gift to our readers.)