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Oh, be gentle to those poor souls, Chuck. Those "kidders" might be excellent managers of a functional area, but they are terrible supervisors of people. Supervision calls for different and frequently more difficult skills than mere management. A supervisor is in charge of people, while many managers have virtually no direct reports and thus no supervisory responsibilities.

Remuneration (aka compensation for those of us who live below the Equator!) is too important to be left in the hands of managers alone. The organisation needs to have identified the principles that will underpin the determination, distribution, and decision-making around rewards and then ensure that systems and processes are in place to deliver on those principles. In my experience fairness, consistency and transparency loom large in employee minds around these matters. I have been researching employee perceptions of fairness when it comes to performance and rewards and the notion of performance equity (broadly speaking, being paid fairly for one's perceived performance contribution) is easily the most important driver for employees. It is also highly correlated with employee engagement. Given this, why would you let managers loose with decision-making around reward decisions. HR-driven systems should provide clear guidelines for managers to observe to ensure that the resulting reward decisions give effect to the principles and prevent managers making the soft, inconsistent, emotive calls that institutionalise unfairness.

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