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I think before this goes too much further a good definition of what is meant by "employee rewards" needs to be offered. Are we talking cash rewards? Are we talking non-cash, non-performance (ie: culture, peer to peer, Employee of the month - no matter they are horrible to begin with) or are we talking strictly about rewards for objective achievement put forth in some sort of review process linked to merit/bonus schemes?

This post seems to be leaning toward a more performance and "income" based "rewards" discussion versus the more ubiquitous employee perks/points/swag type awards.

Good point, Paul.

Let me propose, as an initial placeholder, the Total Rewards model developed by WorldatWork as the answer to what comprises employee rewards for the purposes of Gerry's discussion. Gerry and others can certainly weigh in with other opinions and alternatives - but this model (and its five elements) represent what is most familiar (and most widely taught) to those who go by the title reward professional. See the link below for reference - and note that the five elements highlighted are (1) compensation (2) benefits (3) work-life (4) performance and recognition, and (5) development and career opportunities.


I think we need a definition, too. The W@W model is not what I thought he was referring to. His comments seem directed to monetary rewards.

Thanks, Paul, good point on definition. In this series, I am discussing extrinsic rewards (those provided by the organization) as opposed to intrinsic rewards (those that come from doing the work itself). That includes the first 4 elements of the WorldatWork model, and career and development opportunities to the extent that they represent extrinsic rewards.

Not to sure about the figures on the drop of Compensation and Benefit Managers, as reported by BLS. In 2008, there were 38,810 and in 2013 there were 17,570. a drop of 55%. In 2008, there were 60,980 HR Managers and in 2013, 110,650, a rise of 81%. Can't make sense of that. Could HR Managers be doing the work of Compensation Managers? If these trends are accurate, I have not seen them mentioned elsewhere. Other opinions?

Edgar - I was surprised by the BLS number also. I have been asking corporate rewards people about it for 6 months to see if it makes sense. Small sample, of course, but I think it's real. Nobody seems to be growing rewards staff; the only question is whether staffing is flat or falling. Other parts of HR, like HR technology and talent acquisition, seem to be growing while rewards staffing is going south.

It would be interesting for other readers weigh in here on the experience in their company.

Remember that BLS numbers use the broad O*NET categorization of occupational families by SOCs rather than specific "benchmark" job titles. It is quite possible than many HR Managers, Office Managers, Administrative Managers and such have assumed traditional compensation and total reward responsibilities that once were handled by specialists. Note that going here http://www.onetonline.org/find/quick?s=compensation shows few comp categories that would contain many incumbents.

Beyond that, suspect that the small incremental pay changes to most ees in recent years simply haven't justified the retention of comp/TR specialists in a lot of places. Pity, that. Not good, in many respects.

Still need to clarify - money or non-cash/non-monetary - other awards/rewards are offered in the employee mix.

This is one of the big issues today... we consider non-cash rewards as extrinsic (which they are) and then lump them in with cash - but they have a much different impact and outcome than cash rewards.

Also, there are plenty of experts in non-cash - and as many charlatans... but the difference is not nominal. It is actually much more critical today than ever before. IMO.

Paul: I include both.

But should you? Many treat non-monetary and monetary awards like macintosh and red delicious when in fact they are more like granny smith and badgers. Not even in the same ballpark.

That is where the problem really begins IMO.

They should be discussed in two separate realms.
It's like salary and office equipment. Both contribute to employee satisfaction, engagement, loyalty but we'd never talk about them as interchangeable or even complementary elements of the employee rewards dashboard.

Paul: I disagree. That's like saying that you can't talk about base pay, benefits, and incentives in the same article because they are different.

We cannot discuss reward strategy unless we think holistically about rewards and the tradeoffs among different types of rewards that we offer employees.

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