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Jacque: Good analogies like that help illustrate relationships. The external environment for compensation certainly shapes the delivery systems of any total rewards program. Government regulations today are far different than in the past.

Global legal requirements have changed a lot. You are right on target: i.e., a 1950 automobile does not meet modern legal driving standards. Likewise, some classic old pay programs may be problematic. For example, how can we continue to use fixed job evaluation plans designed long before all the current nondiscrimination legislation existed? Specific tactical delivery systems must be altered to meet the new realities.

Human nature, however, probably remains much the same. The reinforcement strategies behind total reward programs tend to rely on more durable worker behavior patterns. Yes, there ARE changes in motivational drivers over time, but laws change faster than the people who make and alter them. Business models require quicker review cycles for those reasons. And comp plans based on models disrupted by new regulations must be replaced by ones responsive to that new reality.

Thanks for an article that should be shared with any senior management grown too complacent about any reward system that has gone unmodified for a long time.

Thank you for the comment Jim. I'm not talking about government regulations though. Yes they are included but just one. The other things that affect business also affect how we design/deliver compensation. We hopefully don't just react to government law changes --- we react to the same things our companies react to and just like they plot a strategy given the realities of the business world we have to do the same. We exist to facilitate our companies' strategy. Of course within the law.

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