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Margaret - Communication without context can confuse rather than clarify. You make a excellent point that relating what you are saying to what you are doing is the key to effective communication, regardless of topic. Compensation, however, is a particularly sensitive issue, and requires extra thought about what the story is trying to relate, and why it's being related.

In my view, no communication is better that bad communication, since the latter typically elicits the opposite effect to what was intended in the first place.

I agree, John, compensation communication is ultra sensitive. I've looked at the challenges from all sorts of angles on Compensation Cafe and Ann, Dan and I have spoken about it at WorldatWork and on the Web. Just like other sensitive topics, though, if you choose not to communicate you are missing a real opportunity (and with compensation, I'd also say a responsibility).

People explain things to themselves if they don't have other alternatives. On sensitive topics, that leads to difficult misunderstandings.

As Dan, Ann and I have discussed, everything we do in compensation is communications. Whether we do it formally or not, we show employees where the companies priorities are through our silence or efforts around communications communications.

Difficult to do well, yes, no question. More about manager to employee than brochures -- that, too! One of the best contexts for educating employees about the business, for sure.

Margaret - I do appreciate what you are saying about the need for communication, especially around compensation issues, and absolutely agree with the Team at Compensation Cafe about its importance. I guess my point was that such communication needs to be crafted carefully and delivered with clarity and forethought, something that in my experience has been, sadly, a rarity.

Great! You are a believer! I truly understand your concerns. I am often brought in because communications have gone awry and know the damage that can be done.

Just in case anyone else is reading these comments, here are a couple of thoughts to help you plan carefully and deliver with clarity and forethought, as John suggests:

-Always remember that the managers implement compensation communications not HR. If your communications are limited to presentations, without giving managers tools and a chance to discuss, there are going to be miscommunications because you haven't prepared them for their role.

-On the other side of the coin, if all you have time/resources for is an employee meeting and plan summary, then be realistic about what you are accomplishing. Awareness, but no real understanding. (It's a lot like cramming for an exam.) So, take just a little more time and go into the departments for Qs and As/discussions. You'll be far more satisfied with the results

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