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Good topical treatment. As in all things, there are often "jerks" lurking who will try to parse words and semantics - and today I get to fulfill that role (lightly) - although the folks at work have goaded me into this.

So, where I work is something of a clearinghouse for mathematicians, on a grand scale - which in many ways makes it a "challenging" place to have to come to work (sometimes). They would assert that compensation folks do arithmetic, not math. And technically, they're correct. They seem to take particular joy in telling me that, arithmetic is to mathematics as spelling is to writing. And that arithmetic is all about numbers and mathematics is all about theory. Regrettably, on that score - they're right.

So, compensation people don't "do" math. That said, we typically are pretty good spellers though - to take the analogy above to the next logical step. And in that regard, we need to know and understand not only the relationships of numbers, but as Chuck correctly points out, the deeper, oftentimes, behavioral implications of our arithmetic operations also.

Well said, by both.

I'm fortunate that the Comp Café comes to my in basket, so I only now saw Chuck's post.

Thank you for articulating what I've believed all along - that one does not have to be an "arithmetic" genius (thanks, Chris), but a well-rounded business/(& people) person to be effective as a comp colleague. Bust most importantly, a good communicator -- because, really, Comp is all about communication.

I forgot to cite Brennan's Law on Motivation #12: "The biggest problem with compensation people is that they think they are dealing with numbers when they are actually managing human behaviors with remuneration tools. Good people managers make better total rewards decisions than compensation specialists who understand systems and programs but not people."

The promotion of Big Data and Analytics is one thing but they are just tools for the comp professional to take and make work with people.
Well said Chuck

This article is right on target. You have to understand behaviors, motives, and goals of the organization. It is more than just the numbers; it is about people.

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